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Eugene? South Bend? Lubbock? The way the Huskers have been playing, they're not worried about NCAA postseason destinations
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Eugene? South Bend? Lubbock? The way the Huskers have been playing, they're not worried about NCAA postseason destinations

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Steven M. Sipple and Parker Gabriel send you into the holiday weekend with a primer for a busy June in football recruiting and also on the baseball diamond.  Also, what do the guys think of a six-win projection from several betting outlets for the football program? 

If you want to strike up a conversation about what good baseball looks like, go seek Logan Foster.

Before transferring back home to Nebraska the Lincoln Southwest graduate played at Texas A&M and was part of three NCAA Tournament teams. That included the 2017 Aggies, who made the College World Series when Foster was a freshman.

Foster has seen it. He began seeing it again early this season.

"I told Coach (Will) Bolt earlier in the season, 'This team's got it,'" the senior said Saturday after the Husker baseball team wrapped up a 31-12 regular season. "I like our odds with anyone on this team. ... This team definitely has a real shot to do something special."

Foster's hunch from early in the season has only strengthened in recent weeks. Nebraska won 11 of 13 games to close the regular season and grabbed the Big Ten championship with three games to spare. The Huskers took two of three from a quality Michigan team.

Next up is Selection Monday. The Huskers will find out at 11 a.m. on ESPN2 where they'll be heading for NCAA regional play.

The Huskers are projected to be a two seed. D1baseball.com has the Huskers as the No. 2 seed in the Eugene (Oregon) Regional.

Whether it's Eugene, Spokane, Nashville, Oxford or Lubbock or the hornet's nest in Fayetteville, Nebraska isn't worried about where it gets placed in the 64-team field.

"At this point it doesn't matter; it's just wherever they send us," said Bolt, who was named Big Ten coach of the year Sunday. "We can't even look beyond, if we're the two seed or the three seed, who the one seed is. ... Who you are playing that game is always the most important part of a regional.

"You start looking ahead at the next game or the next weekend, you got no shot."

The Huskers believe they have a shot.

There was no conference tournament this year, so Nebraska and other Big Ten teams hopeful of the NCAAs didn't get a sense for postseason baseball this week likes teams from the ACC, Big 12, SEC and AAC. However, the back end of the schedule has prepped NU well.

The Huskers played four games against Indiana and three against Michigan and went a combined 5-2 against the NCAA Tournament hopefuls. NU saw quality pitching over the final weeks, battling against Michigan's Steve Hajjar and Cameron Weston and Indiana's McCade Brown.

The Huskers grinded out wins in front of crowds of 5,500 and 7,000-plus over the weekend. And because they didn't have to work through a league tourney, the Huskers didn't have to worry about taxing the arms of their pitchers.

"The last two weekends have prepared us as well as you possibly can be prepared for a regional," Bolt said. "The arms that we’ve seen over and over and over again, the high intensity — something riding on every pitch — and the way our team responded ... we’re prepared for it."

Said junior pitcher Kyle Perry, "I think we found a rhythm a couple of weeks ago, honestly. I think we’re hitting our stride at the perfect time right now and I am pretty excited for it."

The Husker offense has done its part, scoring seven runs or more eight times over the final 13 games. The arms have done some heavy lifting, too. Starters Cade Povich and Chance Hroch have looked sharp and NU just held one of the Big Ten's top offenses in Michigan to a combined five runs in three games.

NU finished first in the Big Ten in fielding percentage and second in stolen bases.

Those ingredients have the Huskers, who earned the Big Ten's automatic NCAA bid, feeling good going into the week.

How good?

Selection Monday will be sweat-it-out-Monday for many teams. For the Huskers, who took the drama out of the Big Ten race a week ago, it will be Unwind Monday.

"I might be on the golf course or something," junior pitcher Shay Schanaman said. "We don’t care who we play. … We’ll play anybody, anytime, we’re just excited to keep playing."

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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