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Erstad sends message; Huskers claim series opener over Indiana

Nebraska’s playoffs start now.

Coming into the final six games of the season, the Huskers are on the outside looking in. The Big Red sit at tenth in the Big Ten, looking to crack into the top eight to make postseason play.

With little room for error, Nebraska needed nearly flawless baseball in their series opener against Indiana.

Matt Waldron (5-3) started on the mound for the Huskers, looking to bounce back from his last performance when he gave up six runs over six innings against Maryland. The junior found trouble in the first inning before settling into a groove.

Indiana loaded the bases in the first with a pair of hits and a hit batter. With one out, Waldron struggled to find the plate, walking in an early run for the Hoosiers. Waldron was able to force a 4-6-3 double play to escape the first inning jam.

“We were screaming in the dugout to only give up one run there,” Nebraska’s head coach said following the game. “To get out of that (inning) with just one, making a pitch, and limiting it to one run and not having a crooked number definitely gave us the momentum.”

The Omaha native was able to settle down after the first, giving up only two runs off of five hits through seven innings pitched. Waldron struck out eight on the day, tying his career high.

Offensively, the Huskers were able to score off the long ball twice.

In the third inning, following a Scott Schreiber walk, Jesse Wilkening hit a two-run shot to right field to open the scoring for Nebraska.

Angelo Altavilla joined the fun and capped off Nebraska’s scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. Altavilla watched the no-doubter leave the park before flipping his bat and trotting the bases. On the way to the dugout, Nebraska’s head coach Darin Erstad scolded Altavilla for his antics.

“Don’t ever do that again. Ever,” Erstad said.

Altavilla would be replaced by Brison Cronenbold the following inning.

Although harsh and controversial, Erstad’s message is clear. The Huskers have business to do. There’s no time for showboating with the season on the line.

The Husker’s 5-2 win propels them to 9th in the Big Ten, 1.5 games behind Michigan State. The Big Red will likely have to win four of the final five games to have a shot at postseason play.

Luis Alvarado (3-5) will start on the mound for Saturday’s game against Indiana as the Huskers look to carry their momentum through the weekend. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. (CT). You can listen to the game through the Huskers Sports Network or watch the game on BTN+ ($).

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