Nebraska baseball will get two shots this weekend at No. 2 Oregon State in Arizona. The first game of the series is at 2 p.m. CT on Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday, Chris Schmidt of Hail Varsity Radio caught up with Oregon State Coach Pat Casey to get his early impressions of the Huskers. His description of Nebraska gives you a good indication of Casey's respect for the Darin Erstad approach to baseball.
"Always good, well-coached, going to be disciplined in what they do and always play the game right," Casey said of the Huskers. "It's always fun to play those guys, but it's also going to be a challenge. I know how good they are this year. We're looking forward to that."
Oregon State, of course, looks pretty good this year, too, despite losing some key pieces from a team that went 56-6 a year ago and made the College World Series. The Beavers went 4-0 in last week's Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic, which was also held at Surprise Stadium in Arizona, the site for this weekend's games. Oregon State put up 40 runs in that tournament and hit .385 as a team, but Casey said to take those numbers with a grain of salt.
"You get in these tournaments and you've got four games, you get ahead of somebody and there's some pitching changes that have to be made to preserve other arms, so [those numbers] are obviously inflated," he said. "We swung the bat well, and we got some balls to drop. It comes down to people getting stretched out and people maybe having to throw some arms they wouldn't normally, which really elevates those batting averages."
Nebraska (3-1) hit .202 over its first four, but Erstad said he was encouraged by the quality of at-bats for the Huskers. Nebraska dropped two games to the Beavers last season and is 1-4 all-time against Oregon State. But Casey entered the weekend expecting a tough challenge from the Huskers, who were receiving votes in the Coaches' and NCBWA polls this week.
"They're always going to come at you," he said. "They're going to be a good offensive club, they're going to do it right, they're going to play the game the way you should play it. They're playing for a winner."
The Grab Bag
- Tom Dienhart of BTN.com offers a quick spring preview for Nebraska.
- Really interesting read on Grand Canyon University, the only for-profit school in Division I hoops.
- A few of Nebraska's assistant coaches spoke at the Lincoln Football Coaches Association clinic this week.
- ICYMI: Greg Smith offers some updates on new Nebraska offers, Amy Williams is up for a national coach-of-the-year award and Husker volleyball is looking for a new assistant coach.
Today's Song of Today