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Shockey, five others leaving NU baseball
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Shockey, five others leaving NU baseball

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Nebraska baseball coach Mike Anderson confirmed Tuesday that six players, including starting center fielder Colin Shockey, are leaving the Huskers' program.

The news came the day after NU failed to make a NCAA regional for the first time in six years. Nebraska finished the season with a 36-23 record, winding up eighth in the 10-team Big 12 Conference before going 1-2 at the league tournament in Arlington, Texas, last week.

On Monday, Anderson and his coaching staff held individual meetings with players to discuss their future, and from those came the departures of the junior Shockey, freshman catcher Johnny Bowden, freshman pitcher Matthew Pike, sophomore pitcher Tim Schoeninger and junior first baseman Beau Sullivan.

In addition, freshman pitcher Brad Furnish told the coaches he wanted to transfer, and he'll be released from his scholarship.

Anderson said Monday his program needed some tough love after going through an unexpected subpar season. Big 12 coaches picked Nebraska to finish third in the league, and the Huskers got off to a 24-5 start before losing 18 of their final 30 contests.

Shockey's exit will create the biggest hole in the lineup. Nebraska's leadoff hitter for much of the season, the La Vista product started 53 of 56 games and batted .294 with 27 RBIs. He also struck out 41 times, which led to him being moved lower in the batting order.

"It became evident at the end of the year that there were definite differences in the way we approached the game," Anderson said. "We're adamant about team play and we're adamant about how we're going to approach things offensively, and a change needed to be made."

Anderson noted that during each of his 10 seasons in the Nebraska program the Huskers have parted ways with an average of eight to 10 players.

Besides Shockey, the left-handed Furnish got the most experience of the players leaving. He made 16 appearances and went 3-0 with a 3.74 earned-run average.

"An extreme amount of talent, Brad just wanted to explore some other options," Anderson said of the Lucas, Texas, product.

Sullivan started 14 of 21 games and hit .226, while Bowden made five starts in 14 games and hit .176. Schoeninger, who last season made a team-high 25 appearances, went 3-2 with a 5.34 ERAin 17 appearances this year. Pike sat out the season after having surgery on his shoulder.

Before the end of the season, four other players - freshman walk-on pitcher Phil Zander, redshirt freshman walk-on catcher Andy Lomax, redshirt freshman outfielder Kevin Belcher and freshman pitcher Mike McDonald (out with an injury)-left the program. None of those would have been on the Huskers' postseason roster.

Reach Curt McKeever at 473-7441 or cmckeever@journalstar.com.

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