The Nebraska baseball team opened its season by winning three of its first four games after a 5-3 victory over Washington State at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers start the season at 3-1, which is the best start since 2011 and the best start ever under head coach Darin Erstad.
“First weekend, they haven’t been outside, you can feel it, it’s a Sunday,” Erstad said. “It’s a beautiful day out, there wasn’t a ton of energy in the stadium, a lot of people just enjoying the sun. You have to grind it out, and it’s the team that makes the fewest mistakes. The thing I like, we took care of the baseball and gave ourselves a chance.”
Junior catcher Jesse Wilkening was certainly the offensive star of the weekend, finishing with six hits and eight RBIs.
Jake McSteen, Matt Waldron and Robbie Palkert, all juniors, each earned wins on the mound this weekend. Senior Luis Alvarado also impressed on Friday in his first career start with nine strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings.
“He looked really sharp,” Erstad said. “He’s experienced. I know he hasn’t started, but he’s a senior and you could just see he was in control. Let’s just face it, you come out here, everybody’s nervous. You haven’t been outside. Once he started doing what he did, I think it really settled our guys down, because his stuff was really sharp.”
The Huskers return to Arizona this week when they visit Surprise for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. NU has two games against Oregon State and two games against Utah between Thursday to Sunday.
The schedule looks like this (all times are central):
- Thursday, Oregon State, 2 p.m. (Surprise Stadium)
- Friday, Utah, 6 p.m. (Surprise Stadium)
- Saturday, Oregon State, 5 p.m. (Surprise Stadium)
- Sunday, Utah, 2 p.m. (Royals Practice Field)