The Nebraska baseball team's party line: Opponents don’t matter.
Success comes from within, not from recognition of different jerseys, nicknames and reputations.
But outside the lines, NU coach Darin Erstad let it slip he was excited for what is possibly one of the biggest home weeks of the season.
The Huskers (17-6, 3-0) play host to perennial college powers Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. and Wednesday at 1:35 p.m. This weekend, Texas visits for a three-game series at Haymarket Park.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve said I couldn’t care less who we play,” Erstad said Sunday after the Huskers completed a sweep of Michigan with their 10th consecutive victory.
“We’re numb to good teams, average teams, teams that haven’t won a game; that’s not what we’ve got to worry about,” he said.
But moments later, he admitted Husker fans will be excited and his players are very excited to have two of the most storied programs coming to Lincoln in the same week.
“This is going to be a fun week of baseball,” he said.
Nebraska senior catcher Tanner Lubach toed the Erstad line about opponents. But he said he'd been to the NU-Texas series when he was a kid growing up in Lincoln.
“I was 13 or so and sat through the entire 16-inning game when we beat Texas and thought I wanted to play in games like that,” he said of the 2005 game in Lincoln. He's followed the success of Cal State Fullerton for a long time.
Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook, whose Titans knocked Nebraska out of the NCAA regional last spring, said he was looking forward to playing in Lincoln.
“I hope it’s warm,” he said.
He praised the improvement of the Huskers despite his team winning the last six games between the teams over the last two seasons.
Fullerton (11-11) dropped out of the rankings recently and lost two of three at Long Beach State over the weekend. Coincidentally, the Huskers moved into No. 24 on the D1 College Baseball RPI.
“Fullerton is not shabby, and we like to think of ourselves as OK, too,” Erstad said. “The excitement is that we get to play. This will be fun. Our guys are on spring break. They should be well-rested and ready to play.”
* Nebraska pitcher Jake Hohensee returned to action over the weekend after nearly a month off because of an arm injury. Erstad said the sophomore from Lincoln East is a key ingredient to the pitching staff. Shortstop Steven Reveles is expected to miss this week after sustaining a broken finger while bunting last week.
* NU will start Garett King (1-0, 2.63 ERA) on Tuesday and Zack Engelken (1-0, 2.61) against Fullerton. King, a freshman from Anaheim Hills, California, has allowed just three earned runs in nine innings the last two weeks, and Engelken, a freshman from Overland Park, Kansas, has allowed three earned runs in 7 2/3 innings the last two weeks.