Gabe Swansen hopes to anchor Nebraska lineup

LINCOLN, Neb. – Having players drafted is bittersweet. Replacing 41 home runs, 137 RBIs and 112 runs is close to impossible. However, the Nebraska Cornhuskers may have someone to help alleviate those concerns.

Gabe Swansen, a junior from Johnston, Iowa, is capitalizing on an impressive sophomore season. Swansen racked up reliable offensive numbers after playing in 52 of Nebraska’s 57 games in 2023. Often following Brice Matthews and Max Anderson in the lineup, Swansen’s aggressive approach at the plate benefited him greatly. He generated 52 hits, swatted 18 home runs and led returning offensive players in slugging percentage with .654.

Gabe Swansen. Photo courtesy Nebraska athletics.

After watching MLB draftees Brice Matthews and Max Anderson break out last year, Swansen now is tasked with leading the offense. While coach Will Bolt isn’t expecting any one individual to fill the offensive production Matthews and Anderson left, Swansen expects more growth this season.

“Well, I don’t feel real comfortable about replacing their offensive production,” Bolt said. “We are looking at more of a team-wide approach to see how we are going to replace their production. But, I am comfortable knowing that we have a lot of guys that are willing to fulfill a role for the team.”

Swansen is expected to be one of those guys. Of the returning players, Swansen brings the third-highest batting average, most extra-base hits, RBIs, and runs scored, with the second-highest on-base percentage. While Swansen’s confidence is high entering the season, he still recognizes the voids that need to be filled.

“I’m just doing my role. We have a lot of great guys on this team, but I mean, you have to have people that fill their shoes, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Swansen said.

Swansen’s success now finds him as a staple within this Cornhusker lineup. As the left fielder projects to be the leader in overall slugging, he realizes the bigger role he has on this team.

“I’m more of a lead-by-example kind of guy,” Swansen said. “I just like to be someone that people can rely on and feel like a good connection and being able to trust me.”

For athletes, transitioning into college can be tricky. Yet Swansen remembers his adjustment period and wants to ensure his teammates are good first.

“If there is anything that I didn’t know as a freshman, I would often seek help,” Swansen said. “So for me, it’s just helping them feel more comfortable around here and making sure they enjoy their experience.”

Gabe Swansen 3
Nebraska’s Gabe Swansen at practice leading up to the start of the season. Photo courtesy Kyler Adams.

While Swansen’s success on the field will continue to grow, his personality and drive to make others better stick out. Often, this makes him a better player too. The mantra “iron sharpens iron” rings true to Swansen.

Yet, following in the footsteps of school greats can be difficult, but it’s a challenge he is ready to face. Intending to be drafted and becoming draft-eligible this season, Swansen is tuning out the noise.

“It’s just something you try not to think about,” Swansen said. “It’s really whatever you can do to help the team win that’s the focus.”

With his team-first mindset and goal of helping the team win the Big Ten title this season, Swansen’s leadership on and off the field will be pivotal to the team’s success.

Keep an eye on Swansen this season as a major contributor for the Big Red.

Noah Douglas
Noah Douglas
Noah Douglas is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Journalism and Sports Media. He has previously covered high school and collegiate athletics at the Lincoln Journal Star. Follow him on X (Twitter) @DouglasNoha.

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