It was a great atmosphere at Haymarket Park for Nebraska baseball on Friday night. Well, at least the start of the night was.
Over 130 former Huskers were on hand to see Nebraska take on Arizona State. Joba Chamberlain was one of the alumni and he was impressed with the turn out.
“It shows the tradition and what it means to have an event like this,” he said pre-game. “To see how much this program means to all these guys is incredible”.
Chamberlain was the feature of Nebraska’s alumni weekend on Friday and the first 1,000 fans received a free Chamberlain bobble head. When speaking with the media before first pitch, Chamberlain commented on the look-alike.
“I’m not sure I smiled that much on the mound, but I think they did a pretty good job,” he said.
Chamberlain also said that it was an unbelievable and humbling honor to be featured.
Haymarket Park brings back a lot of memories for Chamberlain, but he said his favorite was probably the 2005 Miami game. The two faced off in the Super Regional in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Chamberlain helped lead the Huskers to a 3-1 victory in front of a sold-out crowd.
His advice to Nebraska’s current players right now was to enjoy the journey because it goes by fast.
“You blink and it’s over with and you have to be an adult, grow up and pay bills,” Chamberlain said. “It’s not as fun as college. I can promise you that”.
And after all of the pregame festivities, there was still a game to be played.
Arizona State has been a power hitting team all year. In fact, Hunter Bishop came into the game with as many home runs as the entire Nebraska team this season. The Sun Devils didn't waste any time either, as the leadoff batter went yard in the first inning to take a quick 1-0 lead.
ASU extended the lead to 3-0 before Luke Roskam blasted a solo home run to right field in the second inning. Arizona State stepped on the gas and that was as close as the Huskers got the rest of the game.
Matt Waldron did not have his best outing on the mound, as he went 4.0 innings giving up six runs on nine hits and four strikeouts. Nebraska went through six pitchers on the night and no one seemed to have an answer for the ASU bats.
Arizona State recorded 21 hits on the night, which is the most Nebraska has given up all season. The Huskers looked outmatched in this one from start to finish. Nebraska ultimately fell 15-6.
The Huskers did collect nine hits in the game, but several came at the end when things had already been decided.
Coach Darin Erstad said that the Huskers weren’t surprised by the power of Arizona State.
“We knew Matt would have to be on his game and perfect,” Erstad said. “He made a couple mistakes and they took advantage of them.”
Erstad also said he thought his guys swung the bat well, even to the end of the game and that effort was never an issue.
Arizona State was able to expose Nebraska in all the areas it has been struggling with for a while. The Huskers will have to flush this one fast with a quick turnaround tomorrow.
Game 2 is set for 2:05 p.m. CT with Nate Fisher on the mound.