Nebraska ranked, eyeing showdown with Creighton

LINCOLN, Neb. – For the first time in three years, the Nebraska Huskers baseball team is ranked, sitting 24th in the recent polls.

The Huskers are riding a recent wave of success, having won their last 10 games. With coach Will Bolt at the helm, Nebraska has an impressive 20-5 record, winning 19 of their last 22. This is the second-best record for the Huskers after 25 games, trailing only the 2005 season, in which Nebraska started 22-3.

Most recently, the Huskers swept the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, Illinois, in their first conference matchup of the season. After taking game one from the Wildcats, 5-2, behind another dominant outing from Brett Sears, Nebraska also pounced on Northwestern en route to a 9-5 victory in the second game of the series. Sunday brought fireworks for the Huskers as they again showed their late-inning resiliency and pulled off a come-from-behind win. 

With the Huskers leading the game 6-4 in the eighth, Kyle Froehlich relieved Jeter Worthley after Worthley yielded a single. Froehlich quickly was tagged for a single and then a go-ahead three-run home run by Jackson Freeman. After the Huskers struck out the next two batters out, the comeback kids got back to work.

Cole Evans started the top of the ninth with a double to right-center field before Tyler Stone quickly moved him to third with a single to center. Josh Caron singled through the shortstop-third base hole to tie the game. After the Wildcats limited the damage, the Huskers pushed the game into extras, where they would eventually win it by way of an Evans sacrifice fly. 

For Nebraska, these innings deficits aren’t intimidating. In fact, they almost welcome them. Coach Bolt has referenced the team’s mindset several times, often acknowledging how the team stays engaged through every moment of the game. As for the concerns of how the roster was built this season compared to last, it is clear the chemistry within the team has been a great benefit.

Nebraska Huskers gear up for I-80 rivalry against Creighton

However, while this is the first time the Huskers have been ranked since 2021, a big task lies ahead – the infamous I-80 matchup against Creighton. Nebraska will travel to Omaha on Tuesday and face the 20-4 Blue Jays. 

The Huskers and Blue Jays have played each other 147 times and Nebraska holds an 86-59-2 all-time record. However, last season, Creighton took two of the three games from the Huskers. Tuesday’s matchup is the best combined win percentage (.816) between the two teams since April 5, 2005. 

With the Huskers riding this recent wave of success, four players are to credit. Catcher Josh Caron has played a pivotal role in controlling the pitching staff and providing a spark in the lineup. Caron has a .290 batting average, a team-high six home runs and 32 RBIs. Since 2005, Caron is one of seven Huskers to drive in 30-plus runs in Nebraska’s first 25 games to start the season, proving his value to the team.

Another key contributor has been Riley Silva. The former JUCO standout has been an immediate star in the Husker lineup, as he has 16 stolen bases, leads the team in runs scored at 26, and has an impressive .422 on-base percentage.

Nebraska has been rolling this season, with standout Brett Sears leading the pitching staff. With Sears off to a 5-0 start with a 1.36 ERA, his efforts alone have put the Huskers in a prime spot to compete with any team. 

Finally, the recent hot stretch from Cole Evans has added another spark to the Nebraska offense. Evans is coming off a weekend in which he went 6-10 (.600) while collecting a double, home run and seven RBIs. His impact with the bat remains potent as the senior is hitting .329 with 20 RBIs this season. Evans leads the Big Ten with four sacrifice flies, proving his impact in the clutch moments.

With the Huskers benefiting from each of those players and finding ways to win games, the Huskers find themselves listed in every major baseball ranking. After a big game Tuesday, the Huskers will face another tough task in Ohio State in Lincoln for a weekend set.

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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