Series: Creighton wins 3-0
Creighton: 26-7, 5-1 MVC
Tuesday marks the beginning of the Creighton Bluejays’ residence at Omaha’s new TD Ameritrade Park. A sold-out crowd of more than 24,000 people planning to watch the Jays and Nebraska Huskers break in the future site of the College World Series.
But before the Bluejays could turn their attention to an in-state rival and celebrating their new digs Tuesday, Ed Servais and his team had to take care of business against Indiana State. CU did just that, sweeping the Sycamores in Terre Haute and moving their league-leading records to 5-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 26-7 overall.
Behind solid starting pitching and stellar defense, the Bluejays are putting together a respectable resume. With an RPI in the 30s and 12 of their last 19 regular season games at home, Creighton could enter the discussion for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament should the Jays not win the league’s tournament — being played in Omaha the last week of May.
But any prognostications about playing into June will have to wait. Instead, let’s take a look at how the weekend sweep came together in Terre Haute.
In a rare showing of power, the Bluejays scored all four runs via the long ball. In a not-so-rare showing, Ty Blach continued his stellar season on the mound. Creighton is tied with Southern Illinois for the lowest team batting average in the league, but three of CU’s eight hits Friday were home runs. Anthony Bemboom hit two — a solo shot in the fifth inning, and a two-run bomb in the ninth — and Jimmy Swift added a solo shot to lead off the ninth.
Blach and Kurt Spomer needed only Bemboom’s first blast to record the win and save, respectively. Blach scattered six Indiana State hits over 7.1 innings, striking out five and walking two. Spomer collected his fourth save of the season with 1.2 innings of hitless baseball. Blach pushed his record to 6-0, one off the league lead, and lowered his earned run average to 2.22, third best in the Valley.
The middle of the Creighton lineup paced the Bluejays to a game two win against the Sycamores. Nick Judkins (2-5, 3 runs scored, 1 RBI), Jimmy Swift (2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI), and Trever Adams (3-4, 1 run, 4 RBI) collected 7 of the team’s 10 hits.
Meanwhile, Jonas Dufek matched Blach with a 6-0 record thanks to another strong pitching performance. It was arguably his worst individual outing of the season, stats-wise, as he hadn’t given up more than three earned runs in any of his previous outings. But he limited the damage, cut down on an uncharacteristic five walks issued during his previous start to just two against ISU, and relied on his offense to help him out.
The Bluejays had to come from behind to win the last game of the weekend, as Indiana State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. CU tied it in the fourth on a leadoff home run by Trever Adams, and the Jays took the lead with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. After a leadoff walk by Adams and a sacrifice bunt by Alex Staehely, Adams went to third base on a flyout by Anthony Bemboom. With two outs Scott Thornburg came up with a clutch double to score Adams, and then Mike Gerber and Chance Ross reached base without a hit. Gabriel Thibodeaux pinch hit and drew a bases loaded walk to plate Thornburg, and then Nick Judkins walked to score Gerber.
The Jays took a two-run lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Robby Ort hit a two-run homer off Mark Winkelman to tie the game at 5. Judkins picked up his teammate with a leadoff home run to start the CU ninth, and Kurt Spomer struck out the first two batters in the home half of the inning en route to his third win of the season.