Junior college transfer Rich Sanguinetti may have hauled in the catch of the year for the Huskers earlier this week when he dove on to the warning track to corral a fly ball against Northern Colorado.
If you weren’t at the ballpark Tuesday night, follow this link to find highlights (the catch comes at the 1:10 mark in the Game One Northern Colorado recap video).
Sanguinetti said he landed a couple feet from the wall on the play, what was the first out in the fourth inning of a 2-1 game.
“He’s got good baseball instincts,” coach Darin Erstad said of Sanguinetti. “He gets a good jump. He’s very intelligent reading the swings.”
Sanguinetti’s an important piece in the lineup, too. He’s been the season-long two-hole hitter, leading the team with eight sacrifices and five stolen bases. He’s second among Huskers with 18 RBI and he’ll be looking to extend his hitting streak to eight games in Friday’s Big Ten opener against Illinois.
(By the way, Sanguinetti did play for NU assistant Will Bolt at Texarkana College during the last two seasons, but he signed with Nebraska before the coaching change).
There’s more on NU baseball in Friday’s edition of The World-Herald. I wrote a bit about Bolt’s offensive strategy and what he’s tried to implement here. A few more pre-series notes are below …
>> Freshman Pat Kelly’s 10 for his last 19 at the plate, but he needs to be a little more reliable with his glove to get more playing time. A hamstring injury hampered Kelly early. Said Bolt: “We’re going to pitch to contact on the mound and we’ve got to make the plays (in the infield). Pat’s still searching for that consistency defensively.”
>> Speaking of defense, Nebraska committed a season-high three errors in the 6-4 loss to Northern Colorado Wednesday. Before finishing with two errors against the Bears a day earlier, the Huskers had gone seven straight games without committing more than one. They now have 20 on the year.
>> I haven’t asked lefty starter Zach Hirsch this, but I wonder if he’s been assertive enough pitching inside to right-handed hitters. That was a point of emphasis for him this offseason. So far, righties are batting .349 against him.
>> The Illini started the 2011 season with a 12-21 record before catching fire, tying for the regular season crown and winning the league tournament. They then ousted Cal State Fullerton from its own Regional before falling to Stanford in the finale last June.
>> Right-hander Kevin Johnson pitched a complete game in a 2-1 upset of No. 24 Oregon earlier this year. Here’s Illinois coach Dan Hartleb on his Friday starter, who’s 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA: “He’s a competitor. He will find ways to get out of jams. He doesn’t ever get in.”
>> Illinois’ baseball team hosted a live TV fundraiser on March 14, collecting more than $10,000, nearly 32,000 pounds of food and more than $1,000 in gift cards for tornado victims of Harrisburg, Ill.