Nebraska baseball has an experience closer waiting in the wings.
Nebraska baseball may have an idea as to who they want to close games. It’s someone who has earned the job, especially after his performance last year. Shay Schanaman is expected to slide into that role after he did great work relieving for Nebraska last year.
He recorded 19 appearances last year, finishing with a 1-2 record. Recording a 3.18 ERA and three saves in 22.2 appearances, he doesn’t exactly have a ton of experience at the closer role. Even still, Nebraska baseball sees him as a valued relief pitcher, and rightfully so. Opposing batters hit .163 off of him, and he allowed just eight earned runs. For the most part, he shut the door on his opponents. That’s exactly what you want your closer to do.
If there’s one thing he needs to work on, it is his walks. He gave up 14 in 22.2 innings of work. Putting runners on-base in high-pressure situations is certainly not ideal. However, those numbers can look a bit skewed as he went more than one inning seven of 19 times. Even still, his control is something to be mindful of.
As a sophomore, this role could be perceived as a daunting one. Even still, Schanaman showed that he could provide that shutdown type of performance more often than not last season. It’s a smart move on the part of Will Bolt as it gives the team a chance to have a shutdown guy at the back end of the bullpen. Given how Schanaman also has experience pitching multiple innings, I could see him as an eighth inning guy with the ability to close. That gives the Nebraska coaching staff a chance for more flexibility, particularly if the bullpen is being heavily used over the course of a series.
With so many new developments happening for the Nebraska baseball program, it will be nice to have some continuity on the starting pitching staff and in the bullpen. That is exactly what they need moving forward, and it all starts on Friday against Baylor. I’ll be interested to see how they do, and how Bolt takes his coaching style and leaves his mark on the Nebraska baseball program. If his coaching style is anything like how he played, this Nebraska baseball team will be a tough program that will fight tooth and nail for every win. Bottom line: this team should be a ton of fun to watch.