And so it ends for the Nebraska baseball team.
“We were prepared,” Coach Darin Erstad said. “Guys were ready to play, and we were just searching for that hit . . . hit a couple of balls hard and didn’t have much to show for it.”
The second-seeded Huskers had 10 hits, but they gave up 12 in a 7-4 loss to fourth-seeded Holy Cross on the second day of the Corvallis, Oregon, Regional.
Nebraska left nine runners on base, including three in the eighth after scoring twice in an attempt to battle back against the Patriot League-champion Crusaders.
The Huskers also put two runners on base with no outs in three innings, but came up empty in two of those innings. They scored their first two runs in the fourth, leaving runners at second and third.
For the second day in a row they found themselves “playing uphill,” said Erstad. “Usually when we’re successful, we pound the zone and get ahead and play downhill.”
Saturday’s start was a replay of Friday’s, when Nebraska lost to Yale 5-1.
Like the Bulldogs, Holy Cross scored two runs on four hits in the first inning, and the Huskers never led, though they did tie the score with the two-run fourth, only to see Holy Cross respond with three runs one inning later to take control of its 24th victory in 52 games.
Nebraska finishes the season with a 35-22-1 record and a Big Ten regular-season title.
The Huskers also went two-and-out in the Clemson Regional last season, only the third time in 15 regional appearances that they’ve failed to win at least once. They also went 0-2 in 2006.
“I’ve played in a lot of post-seasons, been around post-seasons as a player and a coach, and it all comes down to who gets hot at a certain time,” Erstad said.
“For whatever reason, the last two years, we’ve gotten ice-cold offensively.”
At the Clemson Regional, Nebraska was out-hit 26-11 and scored only one run.
“I thought we swung the bat OK today,” said Erstad. “We just didn’t get a couple of (key) hits. But you gotta come up with those big hits and for whatever reason, we haven’t been able to get those, those last couple of years. You’ve got to ‘wear’ it sometimes.
“And right now, that’s the way it is.”
Fifteen of the Huskers’ 16 hits over two days were singles. Their only extra-base hit was Scott Schreiber’s seventh home run of the season to lead off the eighth.
“We got out of our approach there,” Schreiber said. “I know myself, especially. And we fought, we competed, but obviously there’s a lot more we could’ve done there.”
Derek Burkamper started for Nebraska and after the shaky first inning, retired nine of 10, the only one reaching on an error, before the Crusaders’ offensive assault in the fifth.
“We got jumped on both games, and obviously wins and losses are important,” said Erstad. “I’m just more concerned about how we go about our business.
“We went about our business the right way today . . . we just didn’t get those hits.”
The post-game interview session with Erstad and Schreiber was punctuated by lengthy silences.
“Obviously, this wasn’t the way we wanted it to end,” said Schreiber, who went 2-for-5.
“But, I mean, we put it all out on the line.”
And so it ended.
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.