Bluejays Capture 5-3 Come From Behind Win at Iowa

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Nick Judkins
Courtesy: David Schofield

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Creighton baseball team came from behind on Tuesday night to defeat Iowa 5-3, giving Ed Servais his 290th win as the head coach at Creighton, moving into first place in wins in Creighton baseball history.  The Bluejays (36-13, 12-6), trailed 3-2 until the seventh, scoring a single run in the seventh and two in the ninth to win the third straight over the Hawkeyes (20-29, 9-12 Big Ten).

The two teams exchanged a pair of runs each in the second inning on Tuesday.  The visiting Bluejays led off the inning with a Trever Adams walk, extending his streak of reaching-base to 34 games.  Adams moved to second when Iowa starting pitcher Jeff Pacha overthrew the first baseman on a pick-off attempt.  A single down the left field line by Alex Staehely plated Adams with the first run of the day. 

Anthony Bemboom sacrificed Staehely to second, Scott Thornburg was hit by a pitch and Mike Gerber struck out, leaving runners on first and second with two outs.  Chance Ross then drove in his third RBI of the week with a double to left field.  A ground out ended the top half of the inning, with the Jays leading 2-0.

The Hawkeyes answered right away, using three hits off Bluejay starter Chase Webb to plate an equalizing two runs.  A leadoff infield single by Taylor Zeutenhorst followed by a throwing error by Ross put the leadoff batter on second.  A single to left field by Phil Keppler put runners on the corners and a single to right by Tyson Blaser plated Iowa's first run of the day.  A squeeze by Chett Zeise tied the ballgame at 2-2.

Iowa took the lead in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of two uncharacteristic throwing errors by Ross.  A towering fly ball to Jimmy Swift for the first out of the inning was followed by back-to-back grounders to Ross, one thrown too low and one too high.  A fielder's choice on an attempted double play plated the single tally for the Hawkeyes in the inning, giving Iowa a 3-2 lead.

The Bluejays were retired in order to end the third inning and through the fifth.  An infield single by Adams with one out in the sixth inning gave Creighton their first runner in four innings, but a fly to left field and a ground ball ended the inning, stranding Creighton's fourth runner of the game.

Mark Winkelman took Webb's place in the third and retired 9-of-the-11 batters he faced, including 10 in a row.  The left-handed pitcher forced a ground ball to start his outing and gave up a single to right before being replaced in the sixth.  He struck out two in his scoreless outing. 

The Bluejays had a rally in the top of the seventh to tie the game, plating a single run without picking up a hit.  Thornburg led off the frame with a hit by pitch, his second of the game.  Joey Bowens came into the game to pinch run for Thornburg.  Bowens advanced to second when Gerber walked, and the pair moved up a single base each on a Ross sacrifice bunt.  Michael Mutcheson picked up his first RBI of the game, driving in Bowens with a ground ball to the second baseman. 

Creighton stranded another run in the top of the eighth before Staehely saved the go-ahead run with a stellar defensive play at second.  With a runner on second, the Hawkeyes brought their top hitter, Mike McQuillan off the bench to pinch hit.  The everyday second baseman didn't start, but smashed a line drive back up the middle.  Staehely dove toward his backhand side, up the middle of the field, snagging the play and doubling off the runner at second for the third out.   The two teams remained knotted at three after 8.

The Bluejays took the lead in the top of the ninth.  With two outs, Ross blooped a single that scooted to the right of McQuillan.  Mutcheson then singled to center, advancing Ross to third.  With runners on the corners, Iowa brought in Tim Fangman to face Judkins. With two strikes, Judkins blooped an RBI single just out of the reach of the second baseman and shortstop, plating Ross.   Swift kept the inning going, driving in his 38th RBI of the season with a single to right center field. 

Kurt Spomer came into the game in the bottom of the ninth, forcing two ground outs and picking up a strikeout.  He picked up his eighth save while Jack VanLeur earned his fourth win of the season, as he is now 4-0.

The Jays now return home for the final MVC series this weekend.  Creighton will take on the Missouri State Bears, who also won in the final inning of their game tonight, defeating Oklahoma State 4-3 with a walk-off sacrifice fly.  The two teams meet at noon on Thursday, 7 pm on Friday and 2 pm on Saturday, all from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

Quick Hits: Chance Ross had three errors in the game Tuesday, the first time a single player has had three errors under Ed Servais.  The last Bluejay with three errors in one game was Vince Pietro in 1999... Trever Adams has now reached safely in 34 straight games and has a hit streak of 13 games... Chase Webb started his first game as a Bluejay, going 2.1 innings with four hits, three runs given up (one earned) and striking out one... Mark Winkelman's 3.1 innings marks the longest outing for the southpaw this season, besting his 3.0 innings on March 7 at Arkansas State... Scott Thornburg was hit by pitch twice on Tuesday.  His career high is three, on February 21, 2009... After walking 11 batters on the weekend, the Creighton pitching staff didn't issue a walk until the 7th inning of the game Tuesday... Kurt Spomer now has 8 saves, moving him into 10th in saves in a season.

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