Darin Erstad is always looking to the next game. There’s no time to dwell on what has just happened, win, which Nebraska has done the last five games, or lose.
Even so, Erstad wasn’t ready to talk about Wednesday night’s game against Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park immediately following Sunday’s 7-6 victory and sweep of Rutgers.
Luis Alvarado wasn’t really ready, either, though he did answer a reporter’s question about whether the Huskers had a little extra motivation considering they lost to Creighton the last time the teams played on April 18, also in Omaha. The final score was 5-2. “I don’t play (off) what happened the game before,” said Alvarado. “I’m just going to go out and compete. It doesn’t matter what team it is. We’re going to go pitch-by-pitch and do the best we can for that game.”
That’s pretty much what Erstad would have said had he been so inclined.
Nebraska, 29-16-1, has entered the national rankings for the first time this season on the strength of its five-game winning streak. The Huskers are No. 25 in the Baseball America poll and ranked No. 26 by Collegiate Baseball. But their RPI remained the same as last week’s, 42.
Creighton, 21-8, has an RPI of 153. Nebraska has two Big Ten series remaining, against Michigan State this weekend at Hawks Field and at Penn State next week, Thursday through Saturday.
Michigan State and Penn State have RPIs of 91 and 229, respectively.
The Huskers defeated Creighton on April 4 in Lincoln 14-6. Sophomore right-hander Ethan Frazier is slated to start for Nebraska. The Bluejays had yet to name a starter by Tuesday afternoon.
Frazier has pitched 10.1 innings in five appearances, two of them starts against Omaha, and is 1-0. He has yet to allow an earned run and has struck out nine, with six walks.
Opponents have hit only .194 against him.
Scott Schreiber leads the Huskers in batting average (.335), home runs (five) and runs-batted-in (39). Angelo Altavilla (.309), Jake Meyers (.306) and Luke Roskam (.303) are the other regulars hitting .300. Altavilla is second to Schreiber with 29 RBIs. Ben Miller and Jake Schleppenbach have each driven in 26.
First pitch is scheduled for 7 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.