PLAYING THE HOT HAND
Nebraska is, without a doubt, the best team besides Arkansas in the Fayetteville Regional. They were the only Big Ten team with at least 30 wins this season and walked away with the conference title. They hit well, they score often, and their fielding is superb.
So, where are the chinks in the armor? How does Arkansas beat them?
1️⃣ Get 'Em Swinging: The Cornhuskers love to swing away. They score 7.0 runs per game, best in the Big Ten. They hit .276 as a team, second in the Big Ten. But... they also average 9.0 strikeouts per game, fourth-worst in their conference. And if this Arkansas pitching staff knows one thing, it's striking batters out. Including postseason play, Razorback pitchers are averaging 10.5 strikeouts per game as a team.
2️⃣ Catch 'Em Stealing: Nebraska stole 64 bases this season, second-best in the Big Ten. They will try to grab a free bag. Luckily for Arkansas, they have Casey Opitz behind home plate. Razorback opponents have only been successful on 62.5% of attempts this year.
3️⃣ Await 'Em Slipping: The Cornhusker fielding is good. Really good. Like, we're talking .982 fielding percentage, better than the Razorbacks' .980 which leads the SEC. There might not be an error committed by this Nebraska team all game, but if there is Arkansas has to take advantage with an extra base or a free run. Because a matchup between these two teams will come down to the wire.
Stay tuned this week... we'll be breaking down each team in the Fayetteville Regional between now and Friday. Up tomorrow? Northeastern!