Ohio State is on a roll. The Buckeyes have won nine of their last 10 games, most recently by 19-4 over Toledo on Wednesday. In marked contrast, Nebraska has lost six of its last 10 games.
And, it probably should be noted, four of those six losses have been at home, including two in a Big Ten-opening series against Minnesota.
“I think there’s some pressing going on,” said Nebraska’s Angelo Altavilla, who’s hitting only .212, with two extra-base hits and 11 runs-batted-in. “I know personally I’ve been pressing and haven’t really come out to the best of my abilities and to what I know I’m capable of playing.”
The junior from Lakeville, Minnesota, will try to get untracked this weekend when the Huskers play a three-game series against Ohio State at Columbus.
The first game is slated for Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT). Luis Alvarado (1-2, 3.24) will pitch for Nebraska, Connor Curtis (4-0, 3.41) for the Buckeyes. The game will be televised on BTN.
Despite the much-discussed injury problems that have depleted Nebraska’s pitching staff, offense has been the issue of late. The Huskers have scored only one run in their last 21 innings.
“Unfortunately when we were struggling on the mound, we were scoring some runs, and now when we’re pitching well, we’re not hitting. So that combination needs to get turned around because that’s not winning baseball,” Coach Darin Erstad said.
Inconsistency has plagued Nebraska throughout the season, hence its 13-12 record.
Senior Zac Repinski agreed with Altavilla. “There’s a little bit of pressing there, but we’re just trying to make sure that we come out and play every day and make sure that we’re focused,” he said.
Repinski is among three Huskers hitting over .300. He’s batting .321. Jesse Wilkening is hitting .330. And Scott Schreiber leads the team with a .364 average. Over the last 12 games, Schreiber has gone 23-for-49 (.469) with five home runs and 16 runs-batted-in. The senior from Menasha, Wisconsin, has hit six home runs total and driven in 22, third on the team to Luke Roskam’s 26 and Wilkening’s 25.
Altavilla is confident he and his teammates will get things going.
“It’s just sticking to what you know and doing what you can,” he said.
“I’m not worried at all and other guys aren’t worried at all, and I know Coach Erstad isn’t worried at all. We’re just in a little rough stretch. But it’s going to come around.”
It will need to. Counting the Ohio State series – the Buckeyes’ first in conference – Nebraska plays its next eight games on the road, including a series at Michigan State next weekend.
The Spartans are struggling, too. They’re 6-17 overall and 0-3 in Big Ten play.
But first things first.
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.