Creighton @ Indiana State Series Preview
- Friday: 6:00 p.m., Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Saturday: 1:00 p.m., Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium, Terre Haute, Indiana
- Sunday: 12:00 p.m., Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium, Terre Haute, Indiana
Fire up the radio for all three Creighton baseball games this weekend. John Bishop and David Gustafson will broadcast all of the action on KOZN 1620 AM. Can’t pick it up on the dial? Listen live on www.1620thezone.com. Live stats are available for all three games, as well, at www.gocreighton.com. Desperate to watch the games? Pay for SycamoreVision and stream the games online.
The Bluejays and Sycamores both began the Missouri Valley Conference portions of their schedules with series wins. Creighton travelled to Normal, where they posted Saturday and Sunday wins over Illinois State after blowing a late inning lead against the Redbirds. The Trees hosted Bradley for three games, taking the first two 5-3 and 11-8. Indiana State couldn’t finish the sweep, though, as the Braves battled back to score 7 runs in the last three innings and take a 9-8 win on getaway day.
Indiana State and Creighton met five times, and the Sycamores posted four wins. Two of those victories occurred at Rosenblatt Stadium in the regular season series, and the other two took place at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The Trees ended Creighton’s season, a fact the Bluejays probably will remember when they take the field this weekend.
Creighton leads the all-time series against Indiana State 68-50; Creighton’s 118 games against ISU are the second-most against any Valley program. The Jays are 26-18 against the Trees in Terre Haute. And under Ed Servais CU is 20-6 against Indiana State.
On the Mound
- Friday: CU’s Ty Blach (2.58 / 5-0) vs. ISU’s Colin Rea (3.57 / 6-1)
- Saturday: CU’s Jonas Dufek (1.78 / 5-0) vs. ISU’s Jason Van Skike (3.83 / 3-1)
- Sunday: CU’s Greg Hellhake (3.62 / 3-1) vs. ISU’s Sean Manaea (4.14 / 3-2)
Creighton’s three weekend starters are in the top 15 in the Valley in earned run average. Jonas Dufek currently ranks third (1.78), Ty Blach sixth (2.58), and Greg Hellhake rounds out the list (3.62). Combined, Creighton’s big three are 13-1 and give the Bluejays a chance to win each time they take the ball. These starters buoy the rest of the staff, and the Jays are third in the league in team ERA (3.52). That’s a half run better than Indiana State (4.01), the next closest team to Creighton in the conference pitching standings.
The Sycamores are led on the mound by right-hander Colin Rea, who at 6-1 with a 3.57 ERA represents the ace of the ISU staff. Rea played for Trees manager Rick Heller for one year at Northern Iowa, before the Panthers shut down the school’s baseball program. Senior Jason Van Skike and freshman Sean Manaea will follow Rea as the weekend progresses.
Dufek lost his perfect record last season in a Friday night start against the Sycamores. He went 7.1 innings and struck out 7 Trees, but he gave up 4 earned runs and was tagged for the loss. Van Skike and Blach squared off in the final game of last year’s regular season series, with Blach getting the better of his ISU counterpart. Matt Patterson blew the save — and Blach’s win — after Blach threw 8 innings of 3-run ball. The Jays got Patterson off the hook, though, as CU recorded its only win in five chances against the Sycamores in 2010.
At the Plate
Indiana State sits in third place league-wide in batting average (.295), slugging percentage (.432), on-base percentage (.389), runs scored (216), and runs batted in (195). Koby Kraemer and Robby Ort pace the ISU offense, as both men hit better than .350. Ort crushes the baseball, often for extra-base hits (fifth in the league in slugging percentage), while Kraemer picks up base knocks (fourth in the league in hits). He’s struck out just 11 times in 124 at bats, and is sixth in the league in hitting (.379 average).
Trever Adams is just ahead of Kraemer on that list, as his batting average currently leads all Bluejays regulars (.383) and is fifth best in the Valley. Adams is having a Joe Carter Valley Player of the Year-type season thus far: in addition to being among the league leaders in average, he leads the MVC in slugging percentage, is third in runs batted in (39), ninth in doubles (10), fourth in triples (4), and leads the Valley in home runs (8) and total bases (88). He can also steal a base or two.
What makes Adams’ output even more remarkable is that besides Alex Staehely, no other Bluejays show up on any league leaders lists for production with the bat. It is representative of the rather pedestrian offensive output so far for CU: the Jays are at or near the bottom of almost every team offense category, save for hit by pitch (first), sacrifice bunts (first), and sacrifice flies (second). But Servais and his team know that if a collegiate baseball team can outpitch and outfield its opponents, the squad stands a good chance to come away with more wins than losses. Hence Creighton’s league leading 23-7 record.
Facts, Figures, and Fodder
ISU’s Rick Heller won his 600th career game in magnificent fashion, as Van Skike tossed a nine-inning no-hitter against Central Arkansas, the program’s first no-no since 1949… Creighton’s 11 true road wins this season is fifth-most nationally, and the Bluejays’ .688 road winning percentage is second-best among teams with 15 or more true roadies… Creighton’s currently 47th in Boyd’s World RPI rankings, while the Sycamores check in at 181st… Adams is in the top ten nationally in RBIs per game (ninth), slugging percentage (tenth), and total bases (500). He’s in the top 30 nationally in triples (21st) and home runs (26th)… Van Skike’s season-high in strikeouts came against Creighton in the MVC Tournament last May 27, when he punched out 8 Bluejays.
If you’re headed to Indiana to watch Creighton play this weekend, wear some Under Armor and water-proof gear. Sunday is forecast to be sunny, but rain will be around the area Friday and Saturday. This, according to Accuweather.