While the Nebraska baseball team got hot at the right time in the regular season, their exit from the Big Ten Tournament marks what has been a disturbing, developing trend for head coach Darin Erstad. Nebraska started off better than the last two years, as it was able to topple Purdue 15-8 in the opening round. After looking like it might be the juggernaut of the tournament on Wednesday, the baseball team looked like the doormat of the conference in two bad losses on Friday. The three and out means that the Huskers are now just 1-6 in the Big Ten tournament the last three years.

Nebraska baseball and the postseason problem

There was a time when Erstad was able to steer the Cornhuskers to back to back Big Ten Tournament finals. Those times have come and gone as the team has struggled against even the lowliest of opponents. The downward trend started in the 2015 tourney when the Huskers struggled through a tough regular season. The team came into the tournament as the 8th seed.

The team almost pulled off a big upset, losing to top-seeded Illinois 3-2 in the opening round. They then dropped a 9-7 heartbreaker to 5th seeded Michigan State and saw their season come to an end as they weren't invited to the NCAA Regionals.

The spiraling downwards of the Nebraska baseball team

Last season was the true beginning of what is becoming a troubling trend. The Huskers came into the tournament on a hot streak that carried them to the second seed in the conference. One the tourney began, the offense disappeared. After opening with a 5-1 loss to seventh-seeded Michigan State, the Huskers dropped their second game to third-seeded Indiana 6-2.

The troubles continued after the team entered the NCAA regionals, losing to Oklahoma State 6-0 and then Western Carolina 4-1. This season, after beating Purdue 15-9 Nebraska was shut out, 2-0 against Iowa before losing their final game of the tourney to Maryland 8-5. Now the team must sit back and wait until Monday to make sure they get to continue their season.

Considering the Cornhuskers were nationally ranked and posted 35 wins this season, some kind of regional berth seems likely. With the Huskers now 1-8 in the postseason over the last three years, there needs to be some kind of change. While Erstad has managed to forge some success recently, he still has few answers for when the games really matter. If the team wants to take the next step, those answers are going to need to become evident quickly.

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