One of the biggest questions the Nebraska baseball team had entering the year was would replace closer Casey Hauptman. The Millard South product had been a staple in the bullpen the last two years – posting a 2.45 ERA last season in 28 appearances.
Through 12 games in the 2012 season, the Huskers appear to have found that answer in the form of junior Travis Huber. The junior college product from the College of Southern Idaho has three saves in six appearances, posting a 1.50 ERA – this after giving up four hits and two runs in his first outing as a Husker against Gonzaga.
“The confidence is definitely building, as I get more experience under my belt, I'm in a comfortable role for me,” said Huber, who picked up a save against Kansas State on Tuesday. “My freshman year I closed at my junior college, so it's not been that big of an adjustment for me. I like it and it's working well so far.”
Through six innings, Huber only has four strikeouts. He says a product of not having his whole arsenal at this point. The Utah native is mostly relying on his fastball to get outs.
“They are coming around, I'm still working on some things. But really I'm just concentrating on fastball and change-up for the most part,” said Huber. “Late in the game, I'm just challenging guys with my best stuff, which is my fastball.
“I didn't even throw a change-up when I came in here, I had one, but never really used it. But Coach Silva made me throw it and it's started to develop...Knowing that I can get that stuff back, it's nice I can do better.”
Nebraska planned to take and wait and see approach with the closer spot, going with a committee early in the season. Apparently the coaching staff has seen enough. After Tuesday's contest, Silva told reporters someone would have to “rip it away” from Huber.
“I think he's just getting comfortable, he's got the stuff to get it done and I think he's just starting to get that good feeling going,” said Silva. “It's starting to translate, when things getting rolling in the right direction, he's going to be a monster.
“We are going to establish fastball command and find time and opportunities to us offseason. People saw his curveball today and we are still working on his cutter. His change is as good as his other pitches.”
Nebraska opens a four game series with Cal on Friday, game time is set for 1:35 P.M.