With the start of Husker baseball beginning this Friday, players, fans, and coaches alike are excited to see the team get back out onto the field after a disappointing 2018 campaign. Last year, Nebraska missed out on the Big 10 Tournament entirely.
Starting pitcher Chad Luensmann was *literally* frothing at the mouth to get started when he finally got back to the practice mound. “When I saw foam out the side of his mouth, he kind of scared me” head coach Darin Erstad said. “I just kind of stayed back and didn’t say anything.”
After missing all of last season, there’s no question Luensmann is ready to get back. “It was tough to watch,” Luensmann said of having to sit out. “I couldn’t do anything about it. I think that was the biggest struggle that I had.
“I wanted to get out there and help and do something for the team but the best I could do was be there for the guys, cheer on the team, (and) help the young guys through their struggles.”
To no one’s surprise, Luensmann isn’t a patient person by nature, which has made the past year and a half especially excruciating for the right hander. “I’ve been chomping at the bit. They’ve had to hold me back a little bit.”
There’s a whole new crop of freshmen players ready to get after it as well. Erstad’s newest recruiting class was rated the best in the Big 10 and among the top 25 in the nation, according to D1baseball.com. However, that doesn’t mean that Erstad will sit around and wait for his team to develop. They want to win right away.
Erstad revealed that one of the more experienced players had texted saying that he was ‘sick and tired’ of hearing about ‘building for the future’ and that he wanted to ‘win now.’
“This is my kind of team,” Erstad said. “We got some fighters on this team and they’re going to be fun to watch.”
With the wait almost over, Erstad and the rest of the team have something to prove, beginning with a four game series against UC Riverside in California. The Highlanders are led by their fifth year head coach, Troy Percival, Erstad’s former teammate while he was with the Angels of Major League Baseball.
For Erstad and the rest of the team, Friday can’t come soon enough.
“I’m done talking,” Erstad said. “It’s time to play.”
* Coverage of Nebraska baseball games can be found on KLIN, beginning with pregame coverage at 7:30 on Friday. First pitch is set for 8 o’clock.