The Nebraska baseball team took to the mound for another cold matchup at Haymarket Park on Saturday. With first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. CT, the Huskers and Western Carolina Catamounts got to work with temperatures barely over freezing and under cloudy skies.
Nebraska took an early lead in the second inning when Luis Alvarado singled home Angelo Altavilla. While Western Carolina tied it up on an RBI in the third inning, the Huskers appeared to be in control. Even in the fourth inning when the Catamounts added two more runs, Alvarado quickly answered to cut Western Carolina’s lead to 3-2.
It wasn’t until late in the game that things started to get a bit problematic for Nebraska. The Catamounts added five runs in the eighth inning alone, which secured an 8-2 victory by the end.
The Huskers had five pitchers at the mound, with Derek Burkamper as the starter. He pitched 4.0 innings before Jake McSteen relieved him for 3.2 innings. Chad Luensmann (0.0 innings), Reece Eddins (0.1 innings) and Ethan Frazier (1.0 innings) all saw the mound as well.
By the end of the game, Coach Darin Erstad answered questions as to why Nebraska couldn’t get the win on Saturday.
“We’re just not playing good baseball,” Erstad said. “We haven’t gotten to the point where we are clicking on all cylinders. We’ve got some guys obviously struggling at the plate. We’re walking too many guys. Defensively I thought we played fantastic today. I thought was a good sign. When you see that, you know the effort is there. They’re locked in. They were ready to play. We’re obviously struggling to find a way to score runs.”
Altavilla isn’t too worried. Like Erstad, he also felt the Huskers played good defense. He expects the team to communicate in the locker room and take charge before Sunday’s final game with Western Carolina.
“I think you’ve got to try everything and do whatever you can to get out of that funk,” Altavilla said. “I have no doubt that these guys are going to keep fighting. We’ll get out of it. I have no doubt in my mind.”
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t disappointing for Altavilla and the Huskers to give up the lead once again.
“We get out to that 1-0 lead and you’re feeling great,” Altavilla said. “I mean, we had a good chance to win this game but then they come back in the top of the third and they get a run. We obviously didn’t give up. Down 3-2 there and had that until the eighth inning but we fought all game. Just a couple of mishaps on the mound and it comes down to battling.”
Erstad expects the Huskers to continue that battle on Sunday when Nebraska and Western Carolina wrap up their three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CT.
“You’ve got to keep grinding,” Erstad said. “That’s the game.”
A bright spot from Saturday’s game? Jake Meyers’ catch:
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.