Despite the frustration, Ben Miller was confident he would turn things around at bat.
“I can definitely do better,” he said before the Nebraska baseball team left for its opening Big Ten series at Indiana over the weekend. “I’m just going out there and competing.”
The issue wasn’t mechanics. Even though he hit the ball well, it wasn’t dropping.
“The hits will come,” said Miller.
And so they did during the three games in Bloomington, Indiana. Miller went 5-for-14 with two runs scored and four runs-batted-in to raise his average from .176 to .205, just a shadow of what he’s done throughout his career, and especially last season.
He was among those who stood out as Nebraska won two and tied one against the Hoosiers. Now, he’ll get his second start as a pitcher this season when the 15-10-1 Huskers play Creighton (8-14) at Hawks Field on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
The Bluejays have rebounded from a 1-11 start.
Miller has started once this season, pitching two scoreless innings. Expect Nebraska to use a few pitchers over two days, as it plays Omaha (6-21) at Werner Park in Papillion on Wednesday night before resuming Big Ten play against Maryland at Hawks Field this weekend.
The Huskers won two of three against Creighton last season and went 2-0 against Omaha. Nebraska hasn’t lost to the Bluejays since April of 2010, a streak that stands at five.
Nebraska had 30 hits in the Indiana series but left 25 runners on base and committed an untypical five errors. Jake Meyers continued to raise his average after a slow start to the season, going 5-for-12 with three runs scored. He’s now third among the regulars with a .298 average.
Angelo Altavilla continues to lead the Huskers, batting .345. Scott Schreiber, who has a 17-game on-base streak, is hitting .320 and leads the team with 21 RBIs. Altavilla has driving in 16.
Freshman Luke Roskam started the final two games of the Indiana series at third base and went 3-for-6 with a double and triple. And senior second baseman Jake Schleppenbach also pushed his batting average to .205 after going 4-for-7 in the final two games (after 0-for-4 in the first game).
Among his four hits was the first home run of his college career. His career batting average against Creighton is .444, with a double, four runs scored and four RBIs in five games.
Miller hit his second home run of the season in the 7-3 first-game victory at Indiana, a foreshadowing, he’s hoping, of what is to come – more base hits.
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.