The Nebraska baseball team (3-1) has a short pit stop in Lincoln before it hit the road again for Surprise, Arizona. Aaron Palensky, Connor Curry and head coach Darin Erstad met with the media before practice on Tuesday to summarize last weekend and to preview the matchup with Oregon State (4-0) for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.
Overall, there were a lot of positive vibes for Nebraska after the opening weekend in California. The Huskers took the series over California-Riverside 3-1, which had an impressive 47 runs by Nebraska through the weekend.
Palensky noted that a lot of new faces were able to get in against UC Riverside, which has only added to Nebraska’s depth. He sees that depth paying off in the long run for the Huskers. As for Curry, he was happy to be back on a field again and to compete.
Erstad played it a little closer to the vest on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t take too much from just one weekend.
“Had a feeling this would be a good fighting team and they showed that,” Erstad said. “Overall going on a true road series taking three out of four, we’ll take that.”
Next up for the Huskers is defending national champion Oregon State, but you wouldn’t know that from talking to Nebraska’s players or coaches. Erstad was clear that the Huskers do not “let anybody dictate” how business is handled in Lincoln.
There is some familiarity with Oregon State though. Palensky is an Omaha native and grew up attending the College World Series. That means he’s seen Oregon State play quite a few times in person. While exciting to play against the Beavers now, Palensky knows he has a job to do regardless of opponent.
“It shouldn't matter who you’re playing if your mind is right, you should be fine,” he said. “Let winning take care of itself.”
Curry noted that his first ever college outing came against Oregon State. He said that outing was “a little rough,” but that he has two more years of experience under his belt. He also feels a lot has changed in those two years and is ready to see what he — and his team — are are to do this weekend.
And after a strong opening weekend, it doesn’t feel like Curry is the only one feeling that way.
Additional notes from practice:
>> Nebraska’s starting pitchers for the weekend will be Kyle Perry, Chad Luensmann, Nate Fisher and Colby Gomes. Perry, a true freshman left-handed pitcher, will make his first career start on Thursday.
>> Mojo Hagge still has a couple of weeks until he is 100 percent, but will continue to have a role in the batting lineup
>> Palensky said he always thought it would be special to play for Nebraska. He expected to be at Southeast Community College this year, but was excited when the Huskers showed interest after last season. Even more, he now finds himself in the starting lineup.
>> Curry said his goal is to be a weekend starter, but is ready for whatever role he can contribute the best.
>> Erstad believes that this team has the ability to take the extra base.
Update: Nebraska’s Thursday game with Oregon State has been postponed. Huskers and Beavers will play a doubleheader Friday at 1:00 p.m. CT and 5:00 p.m. CT.
The other two weekend games in the series are still on as scheduled: Saturday (6 p.m. CT) and Sunday (10 a.m. CT).