OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton baseball team swept its 16th consecutive doubleheader with dominating pitching on Wednesday, defeating North Dakota State 1-0 and 2-0 in a pair of seven-inning contests at the CU Sports Complex.
Zak Moore (4-2) and Greg Hellhake (2-0) picked up the victories on the mound, with senior Pat Venditte earning the save in both contests. The Jays improved to 22-8 overall with the two wins, while NDSU’s losing streak hit 10 games as the Bison drop to 6-17.
In game one, the Jays scored first-inning runs via a bases loaded walk and a hit-by-pitch for the game’s only scoring. Creighton was no-hit for the first time in recorded school history, but won thanks in part to nine walks by NDSU pitchers.
Hellhake was dominant in the nightcap, throwing six innings of one-hit ball. Elliot Soto scored the game’s lone run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning, after picking up one of the team’s four hits to lead off the frame.
In the opener, the Jays used four walks and a hit batsmen in the first frame to score twice.
NDSU pitchers Chad Berg and Chris Paterson combined on the no-hitter, which is believed to be the first-ever of its kind against the Bluejay baseball program. Berg threw the first inning and one batter in the second before Paterson threw the final five innings.
However, Berg’s control issues led to both Creighton runs, as he issued four walks and hit another. He threw 38 pitches in the first inning, but only 15 were for strikes as a patient Jays squad was content to let him put batter-after-batter on base.
Michael Lam started the Jays with a one-out walk in the bottom of the first. Steve Winkelmann then walked on four pitches to move Lam to second. After a pop-out by Darin Ruf, shortstop Vicente Cafaro walked on five pitches to load the bases. Lam came around to score the game’s first run on a five-pitch walk to Brett Mieras. Winkelmann would come plateward when Joe Servais was hit with a 3-2 pitch, making it 2-0.
NDSU had numerous scoring chances but could not break the ice. In the third inning, NDSU had runners at first and third with one out. Ryan Langlais singled to right, but the runner on third, unsure of whether or not the ball was caught or trapped, went back to tag up and did not advance. Reliever T.J. Roemmich then got Sebastian Miles to strike out and Eric Nutzhorn to ground out to end the threat.
In the sixth inning, Miles reached second with no outs but was stranded. Then in the seventh, NDSU had two on with one out before Venditte got Kyle Harrison to strike out and Langlais to ground out to end the game.
Venditte was the last of four Bluejay pitchers in game one, throwing the final 1.2 innings. He recorded four strikeouts, including one left handed and three from the right side. Moore was awarded the win in a pre-determined two-inning start. Roemmich threw a scoreless third inning and Kevin Dooley threw 2.1 innings of one-hit ball before giving way to Venditte.
Hellhake was dominant from the start in game two, as he never allowed more than one runner to reach base in an inning. The only hit the redshirt freshman allowed was a fourth-inning leadoff double to NDSU’s Langlais. That proved to be NDSU’s only scoring threat in the game. Langlais advanced to third on a groundout, but Hellhake got a strikeout and a flyout to right field to get out of trouble.
Creighton, meanwhile, had runners on base in each of the first four innings but failed to capitalize.
After making a great play defensively to rob a base hit in the top of the fifth, Soto led off the bottom of the frame with a single to left field on a 3-2 pitch. He advanced to second on the play when NDSU’s left fielder made an errant throw back to the infield. Soto was then sacrificed to third by Robbie Knight and crossed home plate on a wild pitch by NDSU reliever Shane Bushland.
Hellhake set the Bison down in order in the sixth inning before giving way to Venditte, who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning for his fifth save of the season and second of the day.
Soto, Lam, Cafaro and Roemmich each singled to account for the Jays’ four hits.
Bushland (3-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run in 2.2 innings. Paterson, who threw five scoreless innings in game one, received the start in game two and threw another 3.1 innings. The right hander threw a combined 137 pitches on the day, allowing no runs on three hits in 8.1 total innings.
The two shutouts give the Creighton pitching staff seven for the season, which ties Tulane for the national lead.
With the doubleheader sweep, Creighton has now taken both games of its last 16 twin bills for a 32-game winning streak in such outings. The Jays have now swept the Bison six times in doubleheaders since 2005. CU has swept all five of its doubleheaders this season.
Creighton will play a crucial three-game Missouri Valley Conference series against rival Wichita State this weekend at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Jays and fifth-ranked Shockers will open with a 6:30 p.m. contest on Friday night.
NOTES: Creighton has been hit by a pitch in 17 straight games and in 28 of its 30 contests this season ... Robbie Knight was hit by two pitches in game two, increasing his school-record career total to 49 ... Knight has now been hit multiple times in a game on 10 occasions in his career ... The two saves give Venditte 11 for his career ... Venditte struck out batters with both arms for the ninth different time this season in game one ... Venditte ranks third at CU after making his 91st and 92nd career appearances ... Creighton improved to 12-0 at home this season ... Creighton improved to 45-0 at home under Ed Servais when holding the opposition to two runs or less ... Servais improved to 34-2 in doubleheaders ... Creighton’s pitching staff has thrown one no-hitter in its recorded history, as Joe Franco (3.2 IP) and Major Leaguer Dennis Rasmussen (5.1 IP) combined to throw one against Kansas State on Aprili 18, 1980 ...According to Wikpedia, there have also been two Major League games in which a team has had a no-hitter thrown for them but has lost. The first occured on April 23, 1964, as Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt .45’s was beaten 1-0 by the Cincinnati Reds. In the top of the ninth, Johnson allowed a run to score on two errors, and in the bottom of the frame the Houston bats came up empty. He remains the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter. Three years later, in 1967, Steve Barber and Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles pitched a combined no-hitter, but lost 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers. In the top of the ninth, two runs were scored on three walks, a wild pitch, and two errors.
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