This season has not gone as planned for Nebraska, which entered the year ranked No. 17 but has limped to a 25-20 record with two weeks left to play. Already this year, four Cornhuskers pitchers have been suspended for three separate run-ins with the law, including an incident last month when senior Mike Hamerlink was kicked off the team when he and sophomore Charlie Shirek were cited for vandalism. It only got worse this week, as junior shortstop Ryan Wehrle was dismissed by coach Mike Anderson for disciplinary reasons.
In his words, Anderson has granted Wehrle "many, many, many, many, many" chances to comply with expectations at Nebraska, but his patience was finally exhausted after Wehrle reportedly left the dugout for the clubhouse after Anderson removed him in the sixth inning of Nebraska's 8-3 loss to Coastal Carolina on Friday. During his freshman year, Wehrle was suspended for three games after being ticketed for driving while intoxicated.
An 18th-round pick as a draft-eligible sophomore a year ago, Wehrle has had a disappointing season on the field as well, batting .241/.356/.321 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 162 at-bats. Still, his departure leaves Nebraska with a patchwork infield that is likely to include Craig Corriston at shortstop and Jake Mort or Jeff Tezak at third. The Huskers host Baylor this weekend and finish with a trip to Kansas. Both are winnable series, giving Nebraska a chance to finish above .500 in the conference.
Thanks to NU's solid Ratings Percentage Index, that should be enough to get the Cornhuskers into the NCAA tournament. But winning those games without top talents such as Shirek and Wehrle makes that task tougher.