Published Friday, February 22, 2013 AT 3:52 PM / Updated at 4:01 PM
Baseball: Homecoming for NU’s Sanguinetti
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Senior Rich Sanguinetti’s from Texas, but he’s never been much of a Longhorn fan. Leaned more toward the Aggies, actually.

He went to a baseball game in Austin once. The Longhorns recruited him a little bit, but nothing serious.

So this weekend’s series at Texas doesn’t necessarily get him fired up. He’s doesn’t really fit the profile of the once-scorned athlete who’s extra motivated to prove the naysayers wrong.

But Sanguinetti does want to play well in front of his family members this weekend, seven or eight of whom will be in the stands at Disch-Falk Field. Especially his brother Anthony, who’s a year younger and works as a firefighter. Anthony hasn’t seen Rich play in about two years.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Rich said.

The four other players (all pitchers) from Texas on Nebraska’s roster: Christian DeLeon, Caleb Hawkins, Brandon Pierce and Josh Roeder. One can bet they’ll be enthused to be playing in their home state again.

First pitch in Austin is set for 7 p.m. Friday. A quick series preview to help pass the time before then…

NEBRASKA

Three things

1. The deal with sophomore lefty Kyle Kubat: He’s telling the NU coaching staff that he feels fine. No one wants to take any chances. So Kubat (arm soreness) is out again this weekend, and maybe next week, too. Sophomore Michael Pritchard (oblique strain) will likely be sidelined as well.

2. NU struggled with runners in scoring position last weekend (batted .195, striking out 18 times), and part of that was a reflection of their inability to hit with two outs (4-for-40).

3. Dylan Vogt’s technically NU’s closer, but he entered in the sixth inning at USC last weekend. That was a rare scenario, though, according to Erstad. Vogt didn’t pitch at all until then, and he’s fully capable of throwing four (or more!) frames in relief. But ideally, Vogt isn’t called on until the late innings, Erstad said.

Player to watch: DeLeon, the junior right-hander who gave up one run in his 4⅔-inning debut Sunday. Had he been conditioned to go longer, he would have. Nebraska hopes DeLeon can throw around 90 pitches Saturday.

TEXAS

Three things

1. No home runs yet for the Longhorns, who’re averaging 4.25 runs per game. They’re hitting .315 as a team after four games. Only one team in the Big 12 scored fewer runs than Texas last year.

2. UT base runners have attempted 13 steals in four games, successfully swiping a bag 10 of those times. Seven different players have at least one steal already.

3. The Longhorns haven’t lost a weekend series at home since 2010, when New Mexico took 2 of 3 to begin that season. Their winning percentage at home over the last five years: .774.

Player to watch: Junior closer Corey Knebel, a likely early-round MLB draft pick. He does most of his dirty work with a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s. Plus, he has a lethal curveball.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.