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Erstad, Duensing and Brinkmann to be Inducted into Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Nebraska baseball standouts Darin Erstad and Brian Duensing and secretary Renee Brinkmann are part of the seven-member 2023 class set to be inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 19 in Beatrice, Neb.

Erstad was a history maker on the diamond, and he was also the starting punter on the Huskers 1994 national championship football team. A three-year letterwinner from 1993 to 1995, Erstad was the first Husker to be a conference player of the year and was NU's first finalist for a national player-of-the-year award. Despite playing only three seasons, he ended his career with a school-record 261 hits, while also finishing second all-time in doubles (46), third in home runs (41) and RBI (182) and fifth in runs scored (188). Erstad was a first-team All-American, the Big Eight Co-Player of the Year and a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award in 1995 after hitting .410 with 19 home runs, 79 RBI and a school-record 46 extra-base hits.
After being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 MLB Draft, Erstad went on to have a 14-year career, where he became the first player in MLB history to win Gold Glove awards at multiple positions. The three-time Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star led the majors with 240 hits, won a Silver Slugger Award and became the first leadoff hitter in MLB history to drive in 100 runs in 2000. Erstad returned to Nebraska as a volunteer coach in 2011, before serving as head coach for eight seasons from 2012 to 2019. Under Erstad, the Huskers went 267-193-1, won the 2017 Big Ten regular-season title and had four Regional appearances.

Duensing spent four years with the Huskers after enjoying an outstanding high school career at Millard South, where he earned all-state honors as a junior and senior. The Omaha native totaled a 17-2 record with a 3.66 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 45 appearances, including 26 starts. Coming off of Tommy John surgery the previous year, Duensing bounced back in a major way with a perfect 8-0 record and 3.00 ERA in 23 appearances, including 10 starts in 2005. Proved to be one of the Big 12’s top freshmen, Duensing sported a 6-2 record with a 4.73 ERA in 78 innings in his debut season at Nebraska in 2002.

Duensing went on to have a 10-year MLB career after being a third-round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 2005 MLB Draft. Duensing played the first seven seasons of his career with the Twins, before wrapping up his time in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. The former Husker made 484 career appearances and 61 starts, totaling a 46-38 record with a 4.19 ERA and 523 strikeouts in 762.2 innings.

Brinkmann becomes the third woman to be inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame for her 37 years of service to NU baseball. In her time, Brinkmann has been the backbone of the administrative portion of the program, serving five different head coaches. Along with day-to-day office operations, Brinkmann coordinates all travel arrangements and serves as the coordinator for the Nebraska Baseball Academy.