Lincoln, NE - Nebraska head baseball coach Darin Erstad says it best, “This is a work in progress. Nobody said there wouldn’t be bumps in the road.”
The Huskers hit one of those bumps on Sunday, when Nebraska lost to Big Ten conference leading Purdue 8-3, in a rubber match that all but leaves Erstad’s crew with no chance at a conference championship.
“That’s on me for not having them ready to play,” said Erstad, who pointed at the little things as the difference in the contest. “Missing signs, not taking care of the baseball in the infield, the pitchers not attacking the plate...when your team is not ready to play, there will be little mishaps.”
Erstad compared Sunday’s game to the final game in the Iowa series two weeks prior, when Nebraska need four runs in the bottom of the ninth to secure a win after coming out flat.
“Unfortunately we just faced a better team today that wasn’t going to let that happen,” said Erstad. “I have to do a better job of getting these guys better ready to play.”
At 8-7 in the Big Ten play, Nebraska is on the verge of not making the conference tournament. Only the top six teams in the conference make the postseason, with the top two seeds earning byes. Nebraska will play Indiana in their next series match-up. The Hoosiers are also fighting for their postseason lives.
“We could make the conference tournament, win the conference tournament or being watching the conference tournament,” said Erstad.
The Huskers (26-15) return to the diamond on Tuesday in Omaha, as they take on Creighton in a non-conference affair. Nebraska won an earlier contest between the two teams in Lincoln, 5-3.
“I have always liked the way Coach Servais has run their program,” said Erstad. “I don’t think they swung the bats they wanted to. They are fundamentally sound on defense...and they can pitch. They can be very tough.”
More on Tuesday’s match-up against Creighton Monday on BigRedReport.com.
* Zach Hirsch fell to 4-3 on the season, after the sophomore went only thee innings allowing five earned runs and seven hits.
* Winds gusted up to 35 mph during Sunday's game. Purdue took advantage, hitting three home runs to right field.
* Nebraska shortstop Chad Christensen had two errors, both routine ground balls. The junior also went 1-for-4 at the plate. He's hitting just .206 in conference play, but .314 on the season.