TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - For the first time since the 2007 season the Creighton Bluejays swept the Indiana State Sycamores in Terre Haute, winning the third game 6-5. Creighton used the long ball again today, with none bigger than the solo shot by Nick Judkins to lead off the top of the ninth and give the Jays the winning run. The Bluejays (26-7, 5-1) had eight hits on the day, less than ISU's nine on the day, but put them together when it counted.
For the first time this weekend the Sycamores took the early lead, scoring in the first inning. After Creighton starter Greg Hellhake picked up the first two outs (an easy ground out to Alex Staehely and a fly out to Mike Gerber in center) but then gave up back-to-back hits. Robby Ort blooped a single to right field and then was scored when Jeremy Lucas ripped a double over Anthony Bemboom's head in left field. Hellhake got out of the inning with a ground ball to Chance Ross at third.
The Bluejays had runners on base in two of the first three innings, but couldn't move anyone past second base. In the top of the first, the Jays had the first three batters reach. Michael Mutcheson and Nick Judkins each reached on a walk, but were each picked off first back-to-back. Jimmy Swift then singled through the left side before Trever Adams flew out to deep center field. The Jays were retired in order in the second before getting two more base runners on in the third. A lead off single by Gerber was followed by a hit-by-pitch to Chance Ross as he was squared to bunt. With runners on first and second, Mutcheson struck out, Judkins popped out and Swift grounded out to third to strand the two runners on base.
Creighton did get on the board in the top of the fourth. To lead off the frame, Adams drove out his second home run of the weekend, a blast over the pine trees in left center field. The blast was followed by two fly ball outs before Scott Thornburg picked up his third hit of the weekend (two hits yesterday in the 9-5 win), a double down the left field line. The Bluejays stranded their fourth runner in as many innings to end the fourth.
Hellhake mowed down the Sycamore batters, sitting them down in order in the third (with the help of a runner caught stealing at second), in the third, and just one extra better in the fourth. The south paw gave up just one base hit in the third through fifth inning, forcing four fly outs and three ground outs. He was also helped by Thornburg, who threw out Lucas Hilemen at second in the third and Tyler Wampler at third in the fifth.
The Bluejays took the lead in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of wild pitching by the Sycamores pitchers. Adams led off the inning with a four pitch walk and was advanced to second by a Staehely sacrifice. A fly out by Bemboom would leave the Jays with two outs and a runner on second. Scott Thornburg then picked up his second double of the day, scoring Adams from second. Gerber then drew a walk, followed by Ross' second hit by pitch of the day loaded the bases. Back-to-back walks to Thibodeaux and Judkins plated two more runs, giving the Jays the 4-1 lead after five and a half.
Hellhake continued into the sixth inning, but was taken out after back-to-back extra base hits to Koby Kraemer and Robby Ort to lead off the sixth. The Jays brought in Chase Webb, who forced a ground out by Jeremy Lucas (which plated Ort from third) and fly outs by Jon Hedges and Kyle Burnam to end the threat. Hellhake finished the game with 5.0 innings, six hits, three earned runs and no strike outs.
The two teams exchanged home runs in the eighth, with Gerber driving out his third home run of the season, a solo shot, in the top of the eighth. Indiana State tied up the game in the bottom of the frame with a home run of their own. The Jays brought in Mark Winkelman to start the inning, welcomed with a double by Hileman over Gerber's head. A ground out moved Hileman to third, but it wouldn't matter, as Robby Ort drove a shot over the right field fence, driving in his third RBI of the game.
Creighton brought in Kurt Spomer, who has picked up three saves in 4.2 innings of work thus far in Valley play. Spomer gave up a double to Jeremy Lucas and then forced a ground out by Hedges. An intentional walk to Kyle Burnam ended up adventagious to the Bluejays, as they used Burnam trying to steal second to pull Lucas off the base at third and caught trying to steal home for the third out.
After the Judkins home run in the top of the ninth, Spomer picked up two strike outs and a ground out to end the game, picking up his third win. He has now picked up a decision (W, L or S) in his last eight outings.
The Bluejays will take the field next in the opener at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Tuesday night against Nebraska.
Quick Hits: The Bluejays had their first three batters on base, with Michael Mutcheson and Nick Judkins reaching by walks and Jimmy Swift picking up the first hit of the game. In a turn of events, instead of picking up the early lead, both Mutcheson and Judkins were picked off, with no base runner moving past first base... Creighton base runners were picked off twice on Sunday, moving the total on the year to seven. The Bluejays were only picked off three times all of last season combined... Trever Adams extended his hit streak to 17 games, the longest run since Elliot Soto put together 23 in 2009... Adams now has four home runs in the last four games against Indiana State, knocking out two in the MVC Tournament game last season, one yesterday and one today against the Sycamores... Scott Thornburg threw out two runners stealing in the game, one trying to take second and one at third. Thornburg came into the game with just runner one caught stealing all season... After getting hit by pitch just once in the first 32 games, Chance Ross was plunked twice on Sunday, once in the ribs and once in the foot... The Bluejays hit eight home runs on the weekend, puting the season total at 23. As a team, Creighton had 53 total last season. Nick Judkins, Trever Adams and Anthony Bemboom led the way, with two each on the weekend.