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College | Story | 3/6/2019

Scout Take: Nebraska

Britt Smith        
Photo: Matt Waldron (Nebraska Athletics)

College Notes: March 1 | March 2 | March 3College Player Database
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Nebraska Cornhuskers

What Happened: Nebraska entered the Frisco College Classic licking their wounds coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of Oregon State and responded by defeating Texas Tech 2-1 in game one. The high of the victory over the Red Raiders was short lived as Sam Houston State rallied from a seven-run deficit to eventually walk-off the Huskers in game two. The weather conditions over the weekend proved to be too much for a third game, which was scheduled against Mississippi State, forcing Nebraska to leave Frisco after riding a roller coaster of emotions.

Carrying Tool: It’s early and hard to cast too large of a net over a program with a limited sample size, but for Nebraska the carrying tool would have to be the lineup. Pitching at a team ERA of 5.95, the offense will have to carry the load for the Huskers to reach the postseason. There are talented but youthful contibutors including freshman Spencer Schwellenbach as well as sophomores Jaxon Hallmark and Aaron Palensky. However, the experience of Mojo Hagge and Luke Roskum will need to up-tick beyond their 2018 seasons to keep Nebraska in the postseason hunt all year.

Concerns: The success of the Huskers will come down to the pitching staff. Matt Waldron turned in a solid effort on the mound against Texas Tech in the opening game of the event. Although he did not factor in the final decision, Waldon punched out seven over five innings of work and allowed only a single run. Chad Luensmann worked effectively out of the ‘pen before handing the ball off to freshman Colby Gomes for the save in the ninth. Gomes had suffered through two starts on the season, but the Huskers might have potentially found a back-end arm in Gomes as he sat 92-96 mph with a power slider at 82 mph with depth and late bite. Nate Fisher was solid early in game two for Nebraska but left early with a substantial lead only to get a no-decision. Nebraska will have enough offense to stay in games, and the defense showed it can be solid, but the pitching staff will have to carry the load for their long-term success.

Best Player on the Field: Mojo Hagge is the crowd favorite without question and he did not disappoint with a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning that eventually was the difference in the win over Texas Tech in game one. However, the potential that exists in freshman Colby Gomes on the mound gets the nod over the crowd favorite. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Gomes showed that he could be a potential back-end closer for Nebraska moving forward. Gomes’ stuff showed well enough in a late-inning role – 92-96 mph with later life and slightly sinking arm-side run on his fastball, plus the command of an 11-to-5 shaped slider in the low-80s – to get excited about and potentially move from his early slotted spot in the rotation. He will be worth following and seeing how the Huskers decide to use him moving forward.

Fearless Forecast: Reaching the NCAA postseason will be a task for this Nebraska club. There are pieces to like and if everything falls in place a Regional berth would not be out of the question. However, the depth of the Big Ten might require the Cornhuskers to win their conference tournament to get in the field.

Players covered: Colby Gomes, Matt Waldron, Nate Fisher, Robbie Palkert.

Colby Gomes
Colby Gomes, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound two-way player for Nebraska, shows major potential on the mound in a relief role for the Cornhuskers. After two starts on the mound early in 2019, the results for Gomes have not been great. However, he changed the negative momentum of the season by coming in relief to close out a 2-1 victory over Texas Tech. Gomes plays the part of closer well and his stuff more than likely ticked up a notch in a limited outing. With long limbs and a full arm stroke, Gomes does not hide the ball overly well, so limited visibility as a reliever is more than likely beneficial.

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