Monday, March 9, 2009

Make them earn it

The key to a successful defense is making your opponent earn every 90 feet that they get. It goes back to the defensive principal of making your opponent get three HITS to score. It goes back to our goal of 5 or fewer free bases. Here is a great article about the Husker baseball team and some of the things they are trying to improve on with their pitching.

Huskers Hope to Avoid Ball 3 (and Ball 4)

LINCOLN - Nothing bothers Nebraska pitching coach Eric Newman like a walk.

"Walks kill a team," said sophomore Casey Hauptman, a well-trained Newman student.

Husker pitching coach Eric Newman has issued a challenge to his staff. Don't let walks enter the equation. Avoid three-ball counts. After all, you can't walk anyone without pitching in a three-ball count.

Nebraska pitchers have issued 58 walks through 10 games, including 10 against North Dakota last week and two games with eight walks. Last year, NU reached eight walks just once in 58 games. The Huskers are walking 5.4 per nine innings - on track to rank as the highest figure at the school since 1994 - and up over 3.3 per nine innings last year.

"We want to be a pitching staff that makes everybody earn everything they get," Newman said.

Statistically, in the major leagues, Newman said, 19 percent of plate appearances reach a three-ball count. The Huskers set the same figure as a goal for this week. They're off to a good start. Wednesday in an 11-2 win over South Dakota State, NU walked three, including two by true freshman Nate Kerkhoff in his ninth-inning collegiate debut. Starter Casey Hauptman and reliever Sean Yost recorded only two three-ball counts over eight innings against 28 hitters (7 percent). For the game, it was 15 percent. The root of the control issues involves inexperience. Of the 13 Huskers to pitch this season, seven made their Nebraska debuts and many of the others are competing in much-expanded roles. "I was like a lot of the young guys at the beginning," said freshman reliever Kash Kalkowski, who has pitched in four games. "I was high nervous. But in high school, I was a strike thrower, so I just had to think about it more. "The key for me is just to throw it down the middle. See if they can hit it. "If you make pitches, it's going to take care of itself," Nesseth said. "It's about hitting your spots and making quality pitches."

No comments: