Was it really one year ago that Creighton’s baseball program swept the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships? Those days seem a distant memory with Ed Servais and the Bluejays mired in a season of frustration. The latest turn in a forgettable 2012 found Servais’ team succumbing to another shutout in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Southern Illinois, and then being swept by the Salukis in consecutive one-run losses.
Creighton bussed back to Omaha with a 2-10 record in MVC play, good for last place and putting them three games back in the loss column behind Illinois State (4-7) and Bradley (5-7). CU is 15-20 overall entering tonight’s in-state battle against Nebraska.
Southern Illinois 4, Creighton 0
Saturday the Bluejays once again were on the wrong end of a solid pitcher’s duel. Ty Blach pitched 7.1 innings of 4-run (3 earned), 5-hit baseball, but suffered his fourth loss of the season because SIU backed ace Cody Forsythe’s complete game shutout with two runs in the fifth inning and single tallies in the seventh and eighth innings.
Blach and Forsythe exchanged scoreless frames through Creighton’s half of the fifth. In the bottom half of the inning, Blach issued a leadoff walk and then allowed the second batter of the inning to reach due to his own error fielding a sacrifice bunt. Then, with one out and runners on second and third, Blach got a strikeout he desperately needed but threw a wild pitch for strike three, allowing the batter to reach first to load the bases. A single brought in the Salukis’ first run, and one out later a passed ball brought home an unearned run.
SIU would tack on a solo home run in the seventh inning and a run-scoring double in the eighth, and Forsythe cruised from start to finish for his third win of the year.
Southern Illinois 7, Creighton 6
The Bluejays outhit SIU 10-7 in the second game of Saturday’s twin bill, but the Salukis tied the game in the eighth inning off Chase Webb and won it in the bottom of the ninth against Kurt Spomer.
The Salukis got on the board first, plating two runs in the bottom of the second inning against Erik Mattingly. But the Bluejays would pull ahead in the top of the third, with Chance Ross scoring Jordan Makovicka with an RBI double and Anthony Bemboom bringing home Brennan Murphy and Ross with a two-run single.
Two innings later the Jays took a 5-2 lead thanks to a leadoff single by Ross, a bunt single by Murphy, and a throwing error that plated Ross on the play and sent Murphy to third base. He’d score on a wild pitch during the next at bat.
SIU chased Mattingly from the game in the bottom of that frame, though, tying the game at 5-5. Makovicka would lead off the seventh with a double and come around to score two outs later on a fielder’s choice to give CU a 6-5 lead. But Webb served up the tying home run in the eighth inning and Spomer gave up a leadoff single and the game-winning double to the only two batters he faced in the ninth.
Southern Illinois 6, Creighton 5
Mike Gerber connected on a two-run homer in the second inning of Sunday’s series finale, giving CU a brief lead. But single runs in the third and fourth inning allowed SIU to tie the game, and the Salukis would pounce for three scores in the bottom of the fifth inning to chase starter Shane Liska and reliever Brandon Koenigstein and take a 5-2 lead. The Jays would get to within a run thanks to Brad McKewon’s two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning, but SIU would extend the lead to 6-4 in the seventh inning and then limit CU to just one eighth-inning run (Jake Peter’s first career homer) the rest of the way.