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June 20, 2014
Rojo Breakdown: Huskers taking steps under Erstad
As the College World Series continued this week, it was hard not to watch the field and wonder how Nebraska would have fit in with some of the contenders. Even the most optimistic fan would admit that the Huskers aren't yet on the same level as the eight teams in Omaha, but they might be closer than it appears at first glance.
Had NU eliminated just a few of its uncharacteristic fielding errors in the Stillwater Regional, it likely would have taken down Cal State Fullerton, setting up a matchup with host Oklahoma State in which weekend starters Kyle Kubat and Christian DeLeon would have been available. Win that, and the Huskers would have hosted a Super Regional against UC Irvine, the weakest team in the CWS field and a squad Nebraska had already beaten twice. If Nebraska had won that, it would have played in Omaha this week.
Admittedly, it's a stretch, but the possibility was there. And the way Darin Erstad has the team improving, it's not impossible to imagine the Huskers completing that dream soon.
There's still work to be done, but the steps Nebraska has taken under its new coach have optimism on the rise in Lincoln. Erstad's 2012 squad was a team of mashers that posted a good record, but it lacked quality wins and weakly flamed out in the Big Ten Tournament. The 2013 team struggled to handle a brutal schedule, but finished just one win short of making the postseason. And this past season Nebraska got over the hump and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Here's the breakdown of how Nebraska has improved each season under Erstad: