Consider the numbers: six errors, five wild pitches, three passed balls and two batters hit by pitches. Sounds sloppy. But only one of those 16 mistakes – a passed ball – was Nebraska’s.
The rest were Northern Colorado’s, a fact reflected in the final score.
The Huskers won their third consecutive game, including a second against Northern Colorado, 12-2 at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Nebraska Coach Darin Erstad had no interest in discussing sloppy play. “We have zero errors, and I thought we played a pretty good game,” he said. “I’m not concerned about what other people do. I’m worried about what we do and how we go about our business.
“We missed a couple of missed signs. We were up in the zone (pitching) a couple of times. We had a runner at third, (with) less than two (outs); we didn’t get that done. But I’m going to have to nit-pick a little bit because that was a pretty good effort by our boys.”
The Huskers had 14 hits, including four doubles, and forced some of Northern Colorado’s mistakes with their aggressive play. Four Huskers had multiple hits, led by Mojo Hagge and Jesse Wilkening, both of whom went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a run-batted-in.
Senior Ben Miller, the regular first baseman, was Nebraska’s starting pitcher, his first pitching appearance since late February a year ago, the only game in which he pitched last season and his first start since late March of his freshman year. He had pitched in only 10 games total.
The 6-foot-2, 278-pound left-hander pitched two-plus scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking two, with one strikeout. He was on a pitch count.
“We’re asking a lot out of him to do both things, and to not really have his feet on the dirt that much on the mound,” Erstad said. Miller was slated to start the third game of the season-opening series against UC Riverside in Tempe, Arizona, but the game was rained out.
“Then as he’s playing the field, it just gets a little tougher,” said Erstad. “But he did a great job, I thought, after a leadoff walk, just finding his way through it. We were planning on two innings. He had nine pitchers in that second inning, so it’s like (pitching) Coach (Ted) Silva wanted to roll him out there again. He felt good, and just to get him up again and have him throw some pitches was good.”
Miller threw 31 pitches.
Reece Eddins, the second of five Husker pitchers, earned the victory.
Nebraska, now 5-6, is scheduled for a three-game weekend series against Western Carolina at Hawks Field beginning on Friday at 4:05. But the possibility of wet weather, even snow, beginning Friday night could alter the schedule, according to Erstad. Western Carolina won’t head for home until Monday, “so we do have Sunday, the full day, to work with,” he said.
“We’ll go inside and we’ll see what’s going on with the weather.”