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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 10, 1994)
Thursday, February 10,1904
Outfielder to change outlook this season
By Jeff Griesch
Baseball is a game of constant adjust
When Nebraska outfielder Darin Erstad
is being pitched inside by an opposing pitch
er, he might open his stance slightly so he
can turn more quickly on a fastball.
When the scouting report says an oppos
ing right-handed batter is a dead-pull hitter,
Erstad might shift from his normal position
in right field toward right center field.
But the toughest adjustment Erstad has
had to make so far has been off the field.
Erstad, a native of Jamestown, N.D., came
to Nebraska last fall projected as the 13th
best freshman in the country by Baseball
America. He said he struggled early last
season because he was uncomfortable both
on and off the field.
“Last year was my first year away from
home, and I came to Nebraska and didn’t
really know what to expect,” Erstad said.
“Everybody told me that I was going to have
to change things about my game and in my
life. I think I made too many changes and it
wasn’t really me.”
Erstad, who was selected as a preseason
All-American by Baseball America, said
he’d only make one major change this year
— his outlook. Nebraska opens its season
Feb. 18 at Oral Roberts.
“I’ve realized there are so many things
you can worry about that you can’t control,”
Erstad said. “If you can’t do anything about
them then you shouldn’t worry about it. You
just have to rely on your ability, relax and
play the game.”
Erstad said part of his problem last year
was that he wasn’t playing enough games.
Erstad was first-team all-state in four
sports in high school and earned all-state
honors a total of eight times in baseball,
hockey, track and football.
Only playing baseball last year may have
hurt him early in the season, Erstad said.
Erstad closed out the season strong, fin
ishing second on the team to All-American
Marc Sagmoen in almost every major offen
sive category, including average (.339), home
runs (10), doubles (16), RBIs (54), runs
scored (52) and stolen bases (14).
“Last year, I think I lost some of my
competitive edge because I was so used to
playing a different sport all the time and just
having one lead right into another,” Erstad
said. “Last year, I practiced for so long
without competing that I didn’t really get
back in the swing of things until the Big
Erstad won’t have to worry about those,
layoffs much longer.
Starting this fall, Erstad will be making
another adjustment — from the diamond to
the gridiron. Erstad, whose baseball scholar
ship was replaced with a football scholarship
last fall, will compete for the starting kicking
He said he was excited about the prospect
of kicking and punting the pigskin.
“They told me I was getting a scholarship
during the middle of finals week, and I was
so excited about thinking of what 1 would
have to do to be ready for next season,”
Erstad said. “Finals were the last thing on my
Nebraska coaches couldn’t watch Erstad
kick in person because of NCAA recruiting
Nebraska rightfielder Darin Erstad will perform double-time as a
Cornhusker this season. After fulfilling his duties as a rightfielder this
spring, the pre-season baseball All-American will kick for the football
team In the fall.
restrictions, so other baseball players filmed
Erstad kicking and sent the coaches the
Erstad said the coaches liked what they
saw and offered him a scholarship.
Erstad said that scouting process was
much simpler than what he experienced this
summer in the Cape Cod League, the most
prestigious summer college league in the
Erstad, who played outfield for Falmouth
(Mass.) and finished seventh in the league
with a .302 batting average and second in
RBIs with 30, said he constantly performed
in front of major-league scouts.
“It was really a great experience because
we played every single day,” Erstad said.
“There were also about 10 to 15 scouts at
every game, so there was a lot of pressure.
But the whole experience gave me a pretty
good idea of what it would be like to play in
After playing in the Cape Cod League,
Erstad participated in the USA Baseball Fall
Trials, which he said were another valuable
“There were even more scouts at tryouts
than at Cape Cod,” Erstad said. “You had to
play in front of 70 to 75 scouts, and some
guys got so tight that they couldn’t even
throw the ball.
“You feel a lot more pressure playing in
front of scouts than you do just playing in
front of thousands of fans. If you go 0-for-4
in front of 70 scouts, those guys can control
what happens to your career, and they don’t
forget those things. You could drop four
rounds in the draft.”
From Staff Reports
Something had to give.
On Tuesday night, it was Kansas State —
and the Nebraska basketball team’s four-game
losing streak. The Cornhuskers won their first
game since Jan. 15 after beating Kansas State,
76-68, in Manhattan, Kan., despite being
outrebounded 39-34, including 22-7 on the
Going into the game, the Wildcats, now 14
7, had lost three of four and the Cornhuskers
had dropped four straight.
The Huskers, now 13-6 overall and 3-4 in
the Big Eight, ended their shooting woes inabig
way by hitting 56 percent of their shots. During
Nebraska’s four-game skid, the Huskers shot
just 39 percent from the field.
“It was a great win,” Husker coach Danny
Nee said on KF AB’s postgamc radio show. “I’m
just real proud of the guys. They played like
warriors and we really had some heroes.
Terrance Badgett played great. I think it was his
best game as a Comhusker.”
Badgett, who tied his career-high with 17
points and grabbed five rebounds, was starting
only his fourth game of the season.
The sophomore from Omaha nailed two free
throws with 2:29 remaining to tie the game at
From there, the Huskers never looked back,
scoring the final eight points.
Down the stretch, Nebraska ran off two
See WIN on 10
may cause end
of national meet
By Mitch Sherman
The most successful coach of any sport in
University of Nebraska history may soon find
himself without another championship to win.
Francis Allen, whose men’s gymnastics teams
have claimed seven national championships in
the last 14 years, probably will not have a
chance to add to his list of accomplishments
when a proposalpassed at the NCAA Conven
tion goes into effect after next season.
Proposal 158 probably will mean the elimi
nation of men’s gymnastics as a sanctioned
sport beginning after the 1994-95 season. The
proposal states that a sport must have 40 schools
competing in it to remain a sanctioned sport
with a national championship meet.
Currently, 36 schools have men’s gymnas
tics teams participating in NCAA competition.
Allen said it was highly unlikely that four
schools would add a men’s gymnastics program
before the proposal took effect.
“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “If
anything, the numbers will go down. Schools
See ALLEN on 11
Nee s neckties, disunity add tragedy to team s losses
I know pain.
I’m not speaking in the olfactory
sense, like when someone stands next
to Kevin Ramaekers the day before his
weekly shower. I’m talking emotion
That gripping, ripping, stripping,
flipping (hey, it rhymes) pain that
butchers your soul the way Nancy
Kerrigan butchers the English lan
Only one thing in Nebraska can
inflict such angst following the
Comhuckster football season: wom
en’s golf. Wait, that’s not it, although
I can’t deny that I’ve had my heart
broken once or twice by a linkster
But this column isn’t about my
impotency—um,l mean my love life
— although maybe it should be. No,
my vast readership doesn’t want to
hear about what’s not up with me; they
want to know about the topic de jour:
Danny Nee, men’s basketball and
Tonya Harding’s involvement in the
recent losing streak.
Ifby chance you were having brunch
or were incarcerated on Sunday, you
probably missed a rough ComflufTer
loss down in Lawrence to the Kansas
The ‘skers played a sound game.
They in fact were one three-pointer
away from stealing a huge — and I
mean “huge” in the large sense of the
word — road win.
NU even managed to take out Kan
sas forward Richard “Mr. Masonry”
Scott, who has been a force for the
But despite the strong Comdunker
play, one absence was glaring: Tom
“tuberculosis” Best was not there. In
stead of watching the game from the
bench, he was forced to watch it from
Because of disciplinary reasons,
Best did not make the trip to Lawrence.
The loss to the Combumpers wasn’t
so much from the standpoint that Best
is an amazing player. I mean, Tommy
can shoot, but Nebraska really needs
some post play. And Tomboy is the
only 6-foot-9-inch player 1 know of
who plays like he’s 5-5.
The Comchumpers clearly missed
T.B. ’s effects on the other team. Let’s
face it, when the opposing team sees
this pretty-looking white guy with a
bad haircut step on the court, they
naturally let down their guard.
Best lulls opponents to sleep with
his deceptive good looks.
So how could Coach Danny Nee
leave behind such a valuable com
modity? How could Dan play with
Nebraska’s future by leaving the man
home? How could Dan — as a
semireasonable person—wear some
of those ties?
The answers are unknown to me,
but the consequences of leaving Best
home were oh so vivid. Let’s face it,
I’M IN PAIN.
The pain of having to watch a self
handicapped Comhumper team lose a
tight game in which Best could have
been the difference between a win and
So what could have inspired such
insanity in Coach Nee?
Rumors abound that Best got a
little lippy with the coaching staff.
That seems prrrrrretty serious.
I mean, come on, I guess Danny
has never used bad language or disre
spected anyone (especially not wom
en’s coach Angela Beck).
The guy, I’m sure, is spotless. He’s
like the tidy bowl man. Hell, his team
has been in the toilet lately, so maybe
that is a good analogy.
What I’m getting at is that I’m not
sure Nee should be the one casting
If he wants to cast something, it
should be those damn ties.
Nee can coach and the Huskers can
play. You don’t go to the NCAA tour
ney three years in a row if you can’t.
But if the unity on this team doesn’t
improve dramatically during the final
seven games, I got a feeling the streak
That would be the essence of pain.
It’s a good thing I’ve still got women’s
Flaky it a first-year law Undent and a
Dally Nebraskan sports columnist.
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