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Husker Baseball Learns Its NCAA Assignment

 


Nebraska baseball didn’t win the Big Ten Tournament as hoped on Sunday, but the season still has life in its lungs.

The Huskers found out Monday morning they are headed to Oklahoma City to participate in the Oklahoma State regional this weekend. Darin Erstad’s team (31-22) will draw UConn (36-23) in the first game of the regional on Friday at noon, to be televised on ESPN3. It matters little at this point, but NU is technically the third seed in the four-team bracket. One team will advance through the double-elimination formation to a best-of-three Super Regional the following week.

Oklahoma State is the No. 9 overall seed, and top team in the bracket, and will play Harvard in the night game in Bricktown on Friday.

It’s the fourth time in his eight years of leadership that Erstad’s teams have made it to the NCAA Tournament, and third appearance in the last four years, after missing out last season. Nebraska has not faired well yet in the tournament in Erstad’s time here, going 1-6 in those appearance, going 0-2 the last two trips, with the last win coming in a losers’ bracket game against Binghamton in 2014.

The Huskers’ opening round opponent this year, UConn, was secure in landing an at-large bid despite getting blown out 22-5 in the AAC tournament title game against Cincinnati on Sunday. The Huskies had a similar midseason swoon like the Huskers, but ended up 12-12 in their conference, and had 10 wins against teams in the top 50 of the RPI heading into this weekend’s conference tournament.

UConn finished the season 29th in the RPI, with Nebraska 35th.

The hosting team, Oklahoma State (36-18), is regarded as one of the hotter teams in college baseball, going 11-2 to finish the year, including a sweep of defending national champion Oregon State during that time. The Cowboys just missed out on being one of the top 8 seeds overall.

The Huskers aren’t the only team from the state of Nebraska that will be in the tournament. The Omaha Mavs, which won the Summit League, got an automatic bid and will play the top-seeded UCLA Bruins.

Creighton also is in as a 2 seed in the Oregon State region, and will play a Big Ten foe, Michigan, right off the bat. The Wolverines, who had a strong league record but a weak strength of schedule and were defeated by Nebraska in three of gives games the past week, were one of the final four at-large teams picked for the field.

While no Big Ten team was one of the top overall 16 seeds, five made the field of 64. Aside from Nebraska and Michigan, Illinois is a 2 seed in the Ole Miss regional and Indiana is a 2  seed in the Louisville regional. And Ohio State won its way into the field over the weekend, earning a 4 seed in Vanderbilt’s region.

 

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