#19 Nebraska Baseball 2015 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
#19 Nebraska Baseball 2015 Preview
Nebraska Team Page


With a trip to the Stillwater Regional, Nebraska continued its gradual climb back into national conversation in college baseball by getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Darin Erstad, the Cornhuskers are a program on the rise that has great fan support and should consistently be an NCAA Tournament team moving forward.

2014: 41-21, 18-6
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Darin Erstad

Field Players:
Infielder Blake Headley leads a very experienced group of returning position players this season. Headley hit .323 and drove in 27 runs last season for Nebraska. Outfielder Ryan Boldt will be looking to build upon a great freshman season where he hit .311 with two homeruns, 31 runs batted in and seven steals. Boldt also earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors and All Big Ten Freshman team honors last season. Outfielder Austin Darby and catcher Tanner Lubach will also be key contributors this season as they combined for six homeruns and 63 runs batted in. Lubach should also be on the preseason Johnny Bench watch list once again. He handles the Nebraska pitching staff very well, and committed only two errors in 2014.

Chance Sinclair will be the ace for the Cornhuskers in 2015 that will start on Friday nights of weekend series. Sinclair was 9-1 with a 2.15 earned run average in 2014 and does a nice job of making teams earn every run they get, walking just 26 batters in 100.2 innings pitched last season. Josh Roeder will be the closer once again in 2015 for Nebraska. Roeder was 3-1 with a 3.10 earned run average and had 12 saves. It is going to be important for Roeder to reduce the amount of hits allowed in relation to innings pitched after he allowed 22 hits in 20.1 innings last season.

Who to Watch:
Kyle Kubat is going to have to step up in the starting rotation and give the Cornhuskers some key innings to save stress on the bullpen. Kubat was 5-2 last season with a 4.55 earned run average and opponents did hit .271 against him. If Kubat can lower his earned run average closer to the 3.50-3.75 range, that will give him a great chance to win 8-9 games this season. Offensively, it is going to be interesting to see how coach Erstad replaces the offensive production lost from the departures of Michael Pritchard and Pat Kelly, who drove in a combined total of 104 runs last season.

Final Projection:
The schedule is a very interesting one for Nebraska as there will be a great mix of styles of play that will get them well prepared for the Big Ten conference slate. A trip to UNLV opens up the non-conference schedule for a three game weekend series. The Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park is another signature weekend of the non-conference schedule. The Cornhuskers will battle Texas A&M, Hawaii and LSU in consecutive days. Cal State Fullerton and Texas visit Hawks Field in what will be a critical week for building their NCAA Tournament RPI for the selection committee. In conference play, the biggest series will be at Maryland during the first weekend in April and against Minnesota in the second home conference series of the season the following weekend. If Nebraska can win those two series, since they don’t play Indiana, they would be in a great position to take control of the Big Ten title race. Overall, look for another 40 plus win season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Cornhuskers in 2015.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Ryan Boldt, OF, 238
Hits: Ryan Boldt, OF, 74
Home Runs: Austin Darby, OF, 3; Tanner Lubach, C, 3
RBIs: Austin Darby, OF, 36
Runs: Ryan Boldt, OF, 47
Stolen Bases: Ryan Boldt, OF, 7

Wins: Chance Sinclair, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Chance Sinclair, P, 100.2
Strikeouts: Chance Sinclair, P, 52
Saves: Josh Roeder, P, 12


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