Darin Erstad was asked about Tuesday night’s Creighton game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha following Nebraska’s 8-6 victory against Iowa on Sunday. The Husker head coach said he wasn’t ready to talk about Creighton, that reporters could check what he said the first time the teams met.
In case you missed it: “I couldn’t treat any game more the same,” he said following Nebraska’s 14-6 victory at Hawks Field on April 4. “I’m sorry for the boring answer.
“We respect everybody exactly the same, don’t differentiate in-state, out-of-state, home, away, it just doesn’t matter. We’re going to come and get ready to play . . .”
So it went. And nothing has changed.
Never mind what happened at Hawks Field or that Creighton’s overall record is 14-16. The Bluejays are 5-1 in Big East play and they’ve won six of their last 10 games.
Nebraska mirrors that, also having won six of its last 10 games, with a tie.
Sophomore right-hander Matt Waldron (2-3, 3.89 ERA) is slated to start for the 21-13-1 Huskers. As of Monday afternoon, Creighton had yet to name a starter. But expect Bluejay Coach Ed Servais to use several pitchers. He always does. He used seven the first time the teams met.
That was in part because Nebraska scored 10 runs in the second inning and led 13-1 going into the eighth inning, of course, taking away some of the drama of the in-state rivalry. But Servais will go to his bullpen multiple times, whether needed or not. You can count on that.
Ben Miller and Byron Hood each pitched three innings for the Huskers. Mitch Steinhoff pitched his only two innings of the season. And Waldron finished off with one scoreless inning.
Nebraska had 19 hits, including three each from Luis Alvarado, Luke Roskam and Jesse Wilkening. Miller and Scott Schreiber hit home runs. Miller was hitting just over .200 then. He’s at .276 now, so some things have changed, markedly. Alvarado now leads the Huskers with a .319 batting average, and he has a team-high six saves, getting the sixth on Sunday against Iowa.
The junior right-hander, whose ERA is 1.86, has settled into a closer’s role after not pitching his first two collegiate seasons. “I feel pretty good,” he said. “I don’t think about hitting when I come to pitch, or anything like that. I’ve been . . . mixing it with Chad (Luensmann) at the end. But it feels good.”
Luensmann has five saves and a 2-3 record with a 4.23 ERA.
“I’ve been learning a lot from him,” said Alvarado. “I talk a lot to him about closing games and stuff like that . . . once I come into pitch, it’s just pitch.”
Though Alvarado won’t be throwing it, Tuesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.