After finishing a 3-0 season sweep of the Kansas State Wildcats with a 6-0 win on Tuesday night in Manhattan, Kan., the Huskers return home for the first time in four games to host the Iowa Hawkeyes for a three-game Big Ten series at Hawks Field.
Both teams enter the weekend with a 3-3 record in Big Ten play and each team has played a conference series against the Northwestern Wildcats. The Huskers recently dropped 2-of-3 on the road to the Wildcats, while the Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play by taking 2-of-3 from Northwestern at home.
The Huskers will change up their weekend rotation a bit against the Hawkeyes, as Tom Lemke and Zach Hirsch will start on Friday and Sunday, respectively, for the third straight week, but sophomore Brandon Pierce will be inserted on Saturday for his first career conference start.
Season and single-game tickets can be purchased at Huskers.com, by calling 1-800-8BIGRED or by visiting the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office across the street from Memorial Stadium. The Huskers are also offering a nine-game ticket deal this season. Named the “Diamond-Deal” fans can pick any nine of the Huskers’ 31 home games and have the same seat for all nine games.
Television: Friday’s game will be shown across the state of Nebraska on NET and will be streamed live on BTN.com. Saturday and Sunday’s games will be shown live on HuskersNSide (subscription needed).
On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App.
Head Coach Jack Dahm is in his ninth season at Iowa and his 18th season as a head coach. In his first eight seasons at Iowa, Dahm posted a 190-248 record and the Hawkeyes enter Friday’s game with a 12-14 record this season.
Just like the Huskers, Iowa opened conference play with a 2-1 series win at home and then went on the road and dropped 2-of-3 to fall to 3-3 on the year. The Hawkeyes enter Friday’s game on a two-game winning streak after winning a pair of mid-week games at home over South Dakota State. The pair of wins marked the third time this season the Hawkeyes have won two in a row, but they are yet to win three in a row in 2012.
Play on the road has not gone well for the Hawkeyes this year, as they are 1-4 in road games and 6-8 in neutral site games. Iowa’s first road win came last weekend when they beat Indiana, 4-0, on Saturday in Bloomington.
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Overall in the conference the Hawkeyes rank sixth or lower in every offensive category except hit-by-pitches and sacrifice bunts. Iowa leads both categories with 43 HBP’s and 28 sacrifice bunts. They are last in the league in total bases with 306, while Nebraska leads the conference with 505.
On the mound the Hawkeyes are mostly in the middle of the pack, with their highest ranking coming in strikeouts, where they rank fifth in the Big Ten with 180 punch outs.
Four Hawkeye regulars are hitting over .300 on the season, including a team-high .353 average from Phil Keppler. Mike McQuillan, who is hitting .341, ranks second in the Big Ten with a .483 on-base percentage, third in walks with 21 and seventh in runs with 25.
From a power standpoint the Hawkeyes have just six home runs on the year, with three coming from Sean Flanagan and two from Chett Zeise. Zeise leads the team in RBI’s with 14 and doubles with 10, which ties him with two other players for second most in the Big Ten.
After facing three right-handed starters last weekend, the Huskers will see a trio of lefties this weekend.
Jarred Hippen is set to take his 4.24 ERA and 2-3 record to the mound on Friday. Hippen has one complete game on the year, while also leading Iowa in innings pitched (51.0) and strikeouts (35). He leads the Big Ten in innings pitched and his 35 K’s rank sixth in the Big Ten.
Saturday’s starter Matt Dermody also sits on the conference top-ten list with 32 strikeouts, which ranks ninth. Dermondy is 1-3 on the year with a 4.33 ERA, as he has given up 22 runs (17 earned) on 35 hits over 35.1 innings.
Sasha Kuebel will look to improve to 3-0 on the season when he takes the mound for his seventh start of the season on Sunday. Kuebel carries a 3.18 ERA and is holding opposing hitters to a .236 batting average, which ranks sixth best in the Big Ten. The freshman from St. Louis, Mo., has given up 15 runs (12 earned) on 30 hits overall 34.0 innings, while walking six and striking out 14.