It finally seems as if Darin Erstad’s team is turning the corner.
Nebraska came into the weekend series against Maryland ranked 11th in the Big Ten, looking desperately for their first series win in the conference. With only nine conference games left, the Huskers needed a series win over the 10th ranked Terrapins to keep their postseason hopes alive as they try to snag the 8th seed in the Big Ten. After splitting the first two games in the series, Sunday’s rubber match was do-or-die.
Matt Warren (3-3) started on the mound for the Big Red with their season on the line.
Warren, who’s struggled thus far through the year with a 6.18 ERA, found his groove early on en route to a 6+ inning performance. The senior made quick work, only allowing three baserunners through the first four innings. The Omaha native was effective in limiting hard contact, forcing three double plays on the day, including two in the first four innings.
Warren tossed a career-long 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up five hits while striking out four.
Nebraska struggled offensively until the bottom of the fourth inning. In his second trip to the plate, Scott Schreiber broke up Maryland’s perfect game with a solo home run to give Nebraska the 1-0 lead. Schreiber’s home run ties him with Alex Gordon for 4th on Nebraska’s All-Time Career Home Run list.
The Huskers broke through again in the fifth, scoring three more runs in the inning. The bottom third of the lineup combined for three straight hits capped off by a Ben Klenke opposite field two-RBI double. Klenke would later come around to score off a Jesse Wilkening sacrifice fly.
The Big Red would cruise to a 5-2 victory, improving to 6-10 in conference play. Nebraska now sits .5 games ahead of Maryland for the tenth spot in the Big Ten, inching closer to Michigan State (8-9) and Rutgers (7-11) for the eighth and ninth spot, respectively.
“We’re far from done,” Erstad said following Sunday’s victory. “We got all kinds of work to do so we’re not going to get too excited.”
The series win is Nebraska’s first in the Big Ten on the year as the Huskers have now won two straight series for the first time all year, winning five of their last six games. Across that six-game stretch, Erstad’s squad has scored 59 runs and have shown no signs of slowing down.
Nebraska will play a non-conference game against Creighton on Tuesday before returning to Big Ten play with a weekend series against Indiana.
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