OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska baseball (12-7) defeated Creighton, 6-3, at TD Ameritrade on Tuesday. You wouldn’t have known it from the atmosphere in the press box, which was playing the Bluejays’ NIT matchup with TCU on every TV but one. Loudly.
As Creighton shuffled through eight total pitchers—and Nebraska six—Bluejay fans shuffled through the Huskers’ bigger news of the day: the firing of Tim Miles.
“Did you hear what Bill Moos said?” Creighton fans asked of one another. It was hard to hear what the comment in question was, only because it was drowned out by the announcement of a new pitcher on the mound for Nebraska and screams at the NIT game on TV.
What was taking place on the field at TD Ameritrade may have played second fiddle to the Creighton fans in attendance, but it wasn’t for Nebraska. The Huskers dropped all three of the meetings with their I-80 rival in 2018, so the first meeting of 2019 was a breath of fresh air.
“You kind of have to come ready to play every time you play [Creighton] because they did sweep us last year so we definitely had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” senior shortstop Angelo Altavilla said post-game. “We came ready to go, I thought, and I think the 11 hits through four innings definitely showed that we were ready to play.”
The win also marks Nebraska’s sixth straight victory since a series of canceled and postponed matchups in mid-March. The Huskers last lost on March 10 on the road against Baylor.
Of Nebraska’s six players that pitched against Creighton, three were freshman: Kyle Perry, Shay Schanaman and Bo Blessie. Schanaman was awarded the win. He is now 1-0 on the season.
Coach Darin Erstad was particularly proud of what his freshmen pitchers were able to accomplish against Creighton on the road.
“As the season goes on, you expect them to grow and get a little bit better which is exactly what they’re doing,” Erstad said. “To play at a beautiful ball club like this and handle it the way they did . . . I’m all about throwing the strikes and ‘stuff,’ and Kyle was able to keep it stuff. Last start, at the end of the start, he started to get tired and faded a little bit. He held his stuff and was fantastic. Shay’s stuff was fantastic. Bo, you could tell he was letting the ball go in his first outing so just excited to see them attacking at a young age. It’s a good sign.”
It was also a good sign to see the fight from Nebraska on the road. Erstad would have preferred it didn’t come at the expense of a warning on Altavilla—he was caught jawing with the Creighton dugout (who also received a warning) in the second inning—but the senior was solid otherwise.
Altavilla started his day strong, and had big moments for the Huskers. That included him snagging a ball out of the air and diving on second base for two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth.
It was a big moment for Altavilla, even if the sparse crowd didn’t give it much attention.
“I guess the crowd wasn’t as into it. I think a lot of people left,” Altavilla said. “To us, it was still a big game. They had guys on first and second or something and they had a little bit of momemtum, but that was a huge play.
“I think it gave a lot of guys energy and definitely fired me up.”
The Huskers will now try to take that energy on the road and extend the winning streak for their first Big Ten road games of the season. Nebraska faces Minnesota for a three-game series, with first pitch of the series set for Friday at 4 p.m. CT.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.