The World-Herald's Evan Bland compiled everything you need to know for Nebraska baseball's series against Baylor.
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Nebraska at Baylor
Radio: Husker Sports Network
6:35 p.m. Friday: NU LH Gareth Stroh (5-2, 4.93 ERA in 2018) vs. RH Jimmy Winston (5-3, 4.30 ERA in 2019)
2:05 p.m. Saturday: NU RH Colby Gomes (0-3, 4.09 in 2019) vs. LH Paul Dickens (6-2, 4.41 in 2019)
1:05 p.m. Sunday: NU LH Cade Povich vs. RH Hayden Kettler (2-2, 4.21 in 2019)
Scouting Nebraska: The all-new starting pitching rotation will have a quick chance to prove itself against a quality opponent. Coach Will Bolt said the trio were consistent throughout the offseason. All are talented but have yet to prove anything in their current role with the Huskers — Stroh sat out last season as a Purdue transfer, Gomes is transitioning from being a first baseman/closer and Povich spent last spring as a freshman dominating junior college hitters. ... Likely closer Shay Schanaman said starters and relievers alike are eager to prove themselves, though only three returners threw more than 20 innings for NU last year. “We’re excited to get out there and prove that we’re not going to be the weak link on the team,” Schanaman said. “As long as we throw and do our thing, I think we’ll be fine helping our team win.” ... Bolt said NU will travel 13 pitchers and everyone will be available. ... The Husker offense returns eight batters who appeared in at least 38 games last season. The group averaged 5.8 runs per game, ranking 140th nationally.
Scouting Baylor: The Bears have been rolling under coach Steve Rodriguez, qualifying for three straight NCAA regionals and finishing 35-19 last year. If that streak continues, it will happen without a pair of first-round MLB draft picks selected last summer in catcher Shea Langeliers and third baseman Davis Wendzel. But the team will be anchored by the best draft prospect in the Big 12 this year in junior shortstop Nick Loftin, a career .315 hitter and preseason All-American who has more collegiate walks (38) than strikeouts (37). Catcher Andy Thomas (.335 average) joins him along with first baseman Chase Wehsener (.291) and outfielder Davion Downey (.243) as regular hitters returning. ... Baylor’s team ERA of 4.02 ranked 52nd nationally a year ago, and the team brings back its two best rotation pieces — Winston and Dickens — who combined for 24 starts in 2019. Two key relievers also return — Luke Boyd (3-0, 2.14) and Daniel Caruso (2-1, 1.67).
Dugout chatter: Baylor last week announced suspensions for 14 players for a hazing incident from February 2019, but it remains unclear which specific players might be unavailable this weekend as the team spreads them out in two-game increments. Asked if he knew details about suspensions for the series, Bolt said: “Don’t know, not sure.” ... Nebraska practiced outside four days this week before leaving Thursday for Texas. ... The Huskers took two out of three at Baylor last season, marking one of three series the Bears dropped all year and the only one at home. “I think we’re ready,” NU outfielder Aaron Palensky said. “I feel like we put a lot of work in this offseason. I like our chances going down there this year.” ... The forecast is mostly sunny for the weekend, with highs of 55 degrees Friday, 64 Saturday and 73 Sunday.