The Huskers went down to Lawrence last night, and won their first Big 12 game since March 29th while handing the Jayhawks only their third defeat at home this season. That doesn't suck.
The game started out as a typical game this season - the Huskers giving up some runs early, pitcher Jordan Roualdes struggling. Then, from Curt McKeever at Husker Extra, this happens:
A fourth-inning grounder hit by Neer that was tailor-made for a double play became an error that led to five more runs in an 11-4 Nebraska come-from-behind victory at Hoglund Ballpark.
Bottom line - Kansas made some mistakes (well, a lot of mistakes. Six errors in a game is a LOT of mistakes) and the Husker took ADVANTAGE of them. That's the key - took advantage - something we haven't done a lot of this season.
Casey Hauptman came in to replace Roualdes and threw for 5.1 innings, giving up one hit and no runs, just what Nebraska was looking for. The offense earlier this week struggling putting up runs against Creighton, but in Lawrence it came alive. DJ Belfonte went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run. Jake Mort hit a home run, with three RBI.
Kansas Coach Ritch Price received a rare ejection in the seventh inning because of a strike called when a KU batter called time out. That should give you an idea of what a weird game it was.
Was it Kansas mistakes, though, or is it something else? Earlier this week, Erik Bird threw the game of his life against Creighton, going for 9.1 innings, and allowing only one run and six hits. Cody Neer and Jeff Tezak hit back-to-back doubles in the 12th inning to break open the game. Neer's at-bat was his only one of the game.
So far, your heroes of the week - Erik Bird, Jake Mort, Cody Neer, Jeff Tezak, Casey Hauptman and DJ Belfonte. Bird, Mort, Neer and Tezak are all seniors. Could it be that the game against Kansas was a mental decision by these guys that they're not going to go quietly into the night?
The only way for Nebraska to make the postseason is to make the Big 12 tourney and win it. That means they first have to make the Big 12 tourne. In order to make the tourney, they'll have to finish at least eighth in the regular season. They have no room for error.
Mike Nesseth starts today against Kansas. Should be interesting to see what decisions the Huskers make today.
Earlier this week, coach Mike Anderson talked about what's happened to this team this season. The MLB draft took a number of guys that could have helped this team. The NCAA changed roster rules a couple years ago to limit baseball rosters to 35 players. Previous to that change, a lot of powerhouse teams would sign players and let them sit around rather than have them end up on someone else's college roster. Anderson could have oversigned, but he chose not to because that's the way he operates. That's the way most Husker fans would prefer that he operate...We all know that coaches are measured in terms of wins and losses, so if the team struggles again next season, it won't matter much. Anderson would face a lot of heat. That's the way things go.