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B10 Nebraska Illinois Baseball

Nebraska outfielder Ryan Boldt smiles between pitches in the first inning against Illinois during a first-round Big Ten Tournament game Wednesday in Minneapolis. Illinois won 3-2. Boldt was injured and did not play in Thursday's 9-7 Nebraska loss to Michigan State.

Finally, a couple of days away from baseball and Ryan Boldt couldn't be happier.

The junior center fielder led the Nebraska baseball team in hitting, runs, stolen bases and hits last year, played all summer in the Cape Cod League and went straight into fall baseball with the Huskers.

"I'm a Minnesota kid, so I'm used to shutting down baseball for a while in the fall and winter," said Boldt, a second-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore, and an all-star in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer.

Boldt showed the usual flash at the plate with three hits, including a triple, and three runs batted in Thursday night as the Huskers closed out the annual Red-White Series. The Red team won 5-3 and took the three-game series.

Boldt had some extra work Wednesday night as class schedules, injuries and other things forced coach Darin Erstad to have both teams play with just two outfielders.

"You bet I'm looking forward to the regular season with three outfielders on the team," Boldt said. "I tried to run down a lot of balls tonight."

The large gaps led to at least five triples over the three intrasquad games.

"Seriously, I'm just going to lift weights, do my classroom stuff and stay away from baseball until it's time to start up again," Boldt said. "I want to get stronger, not bigger. And I want to keep my grades up."

Boldt is majoring in nutritional science and was Academic All-Big Ten last year.

Erstad said the time between the Red-White series and the official start of practice in January will be spent with players for the maximum of two hours a week.

"We have a lot of work to do offensively," he said. "We had a lot of guys on the mound throwing strikes, and that's what we want.

"It's a long time until the season opens."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7313 or khambleton@journalstar.com.

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Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

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