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First official practice of the Will Bolt era kicks off 2020 Husker baseball season
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HUSKER BASEBALL

First official practice of the Will Bolt era kicks off 2020 Husker baseball season

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Sure, things will be different.

How can they not be, with Nebraska baseball having a new coaching staff in place after Darin Erstad's resignation and Will Bolt's hiring last spring?

But at their core, the Huskers might not be all that dissimilar.

"You know, I thought it was going to be some big drastic change, but it really wasn't," junior Jaxon Hallmark said Friday as official practice got underway for the 2020 season.

"I mean, both Coach Erstad and Coach Bolt are very similar people — they demand respect, they both demand that you play the game the right way; that you play hard, play fast. That hasn't changed. So there's not that big of a difference."

With the season opener at Baylor three weeks from Saturday and a wet blanket of snow covering the ground, the Huskers took to the Alex Gordon Training Complex to begin spring workouts.

Skill work has been going on behind the scenes for weeks. Fall ball has long since come and gone.

Now the real work for Bolt and assistants Lance Harvell and Jeff Christy begins as they try to put build off last season's 32-24 record that ended in heartbreak at the Oklahoma City Regional.

"There was definitely a learning curve there, I think. Just putting the guys in uncomfortable situations in practice. The way we ran drills, the way we organized and structured practice was a little bit of a learning curve," Bolt said of fall workouts. "But we’ve had some encouraging signs here already of them taking what they learned in the fall and already applying it to the spring, and I think by now they expect to be put in uncomfortable spots in practice, so they’re much more ready for it."

There is still much to be decided. Nebraska has to completely rebuild its weekend pitching rotation, with plenty of options to choose from. Purdue transfer and Gibbon native Gareth Stroh seems to be a leading candidate for one of those roles, as does sophomore Colby Gomes, who will make the transition from closer to starter.

And while the NU coaching staff may have an idea of what they want things to look like, the next three weeks will go a long way toward who takes the field in Waco, Texas.

"A lot of it's going to depend on how the next three weeks go with some of the live outings," Bolt said. "I think we have a decent idea, but we'll let it play out over the next three weeks."

While there are still things to be decided, the overarching goal has been made clear.

"Winning. That's it. Winning every possible game," Gomes said. "Obviously winning the College World Series is our main goal. But just taking it day by day and winning every single game. … That's all it is."

Curry out for year: One player who won't figure in Nebraska's plans is junior left-hander Connor Curry.

The Lincoln Southeast graduate, who has battled injuries most of his college career, underwent a second Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm in the offseason and will miss all of 2020, Bolt said Friday.

That appears to be Nebraska's only current major injury. Bolt said other players are working their way back from ailments dating to last season, but didn't name any names, only adding that everyone is on schedule in their rehab.

Contact the writer at cbasnett@journalstar.com or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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