Nebraska/Illinois Game Three Notebook

Nebraska picked up a series win on Sunday afternoon, and a historical one at that, with a 13-3 victory over Illinois. It was the first series win in Big Ten play for the Huskers (17-9, 2-1) as their offense exploded for 31 runs in the last two games of the series after being held to three runs in the Friday night opener.

Head Coach Darin Erstad was pleased with the performance of his team in the game and in the series overall. "Our boys responded well to adversity. We put two good games together and got a series win, and that's what we're for: to win series."

*The Huskers scored 13 runs a day after plating 18 (including 11 in one inning) and made it look easy. They scored four runs in both the 3rd and 6th innings, and did it in a number of different ways. Kale Kiser hit the lone home run for Nebraska in the fourth inning, and the team finished with 14 hits overall, but they found other ways to reach base. They walked, they were hit by pitches, they reached on errors, etc. All Husker hitters reached base at least once by the 5th inning, and they did so 24 times total in the game. The consistency and ease with which they score runs is impressive, and even in games like Friday when they were held to three runs, they hit the ball well. Coach Erstad said they hit the ball as well in the Friday game as they did in the rest of the series.

*Zach Hirsch gave a solid outing for Nebraska, pitching seven innings - tying a career high - and only giving up one run on three hits. The sophomore looked more comfortable on the mound than he has recently and coach Erstad said he liked the pace with which he pitched. "He did a nice job of going and playing at the best tempo he can, and he was huge for us today." The lefty improved to 3-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 4.63 (he came into the game with an ERA of 5.46)

NOTES *Chad Christensen picked up a stolen base and is now four of five on steals this season. The Huskers are 28 of 39 (72%) stealing bases as a team.

*In Saturday's game the Huskers pulled off the feat of beating Illinois by 10 runs while still being outhit. Today that was not the case as they outhit the Illini 14-5, which gives Nebraska a 12-0 record when outhitting their opponent this season.

*Not only was this the first series win as part of the Big 10 conference, it was the first time Nebraska won their initial conference series of the year since 2008, when they did so against Kansas State.

*Nebraska's fans came out consistently throughout the series. Today's attendance was 5,266 following marks of 5,221 on Saturday and 5,210 on Friday. The numbers are the second, third and fourth best attendance numbers Nebraska has posted this season. The highest was 5,298 against Cal on March 10th.

Nebraska's next opponent is Kansas State, who comes to Lincoln on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 and the Huskers have not announced a starting pitcher.

- Josh Harvey -

Josh Hilkemann has worked for Big Red Report since October of 2011. He is currently a senior at UNL and has been featured on the Big Ten Digital Network as a play-by-play announcer for Husker basketball and volleyball.
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