In what’s becoming a hard habit to bust, Nebraska (17-22, 4-9 Big Ten) fell behind early and never recovered, losing 12-9 to Creighton (24-11, 3-5 Big East) for the first time in Lincoln since 2010.
The 10th loss in the last 13 games, Nebraska gave up a leadoff double to begin the game, two runs in the first, a run each in the third and fourth and then a six-run fifth. Starter Nate Fisher, now 1-5 on the year, went just four innings with nine earned on 10 hits and three strikeouts. Asked if head coach Darin Erstad needed Fisher to just eat innings to get through until a weekend series with Nevada, Erstad said he just wanted a good performance.
“I just wanted him to pitch good,” Erstad said. “He was up in the zone and when it’s up in the zone, it gets hit pretty good. Made a couple mistakes with his breaking ball and then he was down in the zone and they still hit the ball. Credit to them, they swung the bats well. They’ve got a good offense.”
Seven-of-nine Creighton batters found success at the plate as the Jays smacked two home runs. Nebraska had a chance in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases with no outs, down four but left fielder Mojo Hagge hit into a double play. First baseman Scott Schreiber homered on the next at-bat but the damage was only two instead of four. The Huskers felt that.
“You’ve got to be able to get through that stuff,” Erstad said. “[He] hit it in the wrong spot.”
Erstad called Schreiber — who cranked his 14th home run of the season — a “special player doing special things,” but said his team just got “handled” early and couldn’t recover. That’s become a habit; one that has led others to question Erstad’s job security (one year removed from winning the conference).
Athletic director Bill Moos was asked Tuesday about his baseball coach and a reporter asked Erstad about Moos’ endorsement after the game.
“You can stir the fishbowl yourself,” he responded. “I'm not going to comment on that.”
Instead, he’s trying to focus on fixing the sluggish opens.
“I’ve hugged them, I’ve yelled at them, we’ve done mental stuff, it is crazy how we have got off to bad starts,” he said. “Especially defensively it’s just… gosh, I mean we make a mistake early it just hurts us.”
Erstad mixed up the lineup for tonight’s game, hoping to spark something. Schreiber batted leadoff (a spot he said he can’t even remember the last time he was in) and designated hitter Jesse Wilkening went second (a spot Wilkening hasn’t been in either). Both had strong individual outings but the team result wasn’t there.
“It’s frustrating," Erstad said. “Once it starts, it gets that dirty snowball rolling and you feel it and it’s something you have to fight through. It’s obviously a concern and a big issue for us right now.”
Nebraska begins a non-conference weekend series with Nevada on Thursday at 6:35 p.m., hoping to get back on track.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.