Nebraska Baseball 2012: After Extended Absence, Huskers Heading to Postseason

Matt Zvolanek@MattZvolanekCorrespondent IIMay 18, 2012


It was bound to happen eventually.  And with a 15-2 victory over conference bottom-dweller Michigan, Nebraska punched its ticket to the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. 

It will be Nebraska's first time playing in the postseason since 2008.  That year Nebraska went as far as the NCAA regionals. 

The Huskers still have something to play for however, as the number two seed in the conference tourney is still up for grabs (Purdue has the number one seed on lockdown).  If the Huskers swept the Wolverines, and both Penn State and Indiana lose their two remaining conference games, the Huskers would move up to the number two seed. 

Why is this important? 

The top two seeds in the Big Ten Tournament receive a first-round bye. 

Regardless of where the Huskers end up seeding-wise, the fact that they made it to the postseason is great accomplishment for first-year head coach Darin Erstad. 

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Erstad is slowly, but surely, changing the philosophy and mentality of this Husker team.  Even the most casual fan should have noticed a change in offensive production, a majority of which ranks among the top 25 in college baseball. 

But just making the Big Ten Tournament isn't enough.

The Huskers want to make it to the NCAA tournament.  But due to the low RPI of the Big Ten Conference and a weak non-conference schedule, there's really only one way to make it.  That is to win the Big Ten Tournament. 

It won't be easy but these Huskers have shown grit throughout the season, coming back in games in the late innings to taking the series after dropping the first game. 

Should the Huskers sweep the Wolverines, they will be riding a surge of momentum, coming off back to back conference sweeps (forget about the Creighton and Wichita State debacles).  They could win the Big Ten Tournament.  They finally found a series-opening pitcher in Kyle Kubat. 

Yes, the Huskers made the post-season but for how long they stay in it is up to them.  Win the Big Ten and that short drive to Omaha is looking a whole lot closer.  But if they don't, the fans should just be happy to see improvement in their team and remember Rome wasn't built in a day.