CONWAY, Ark. - The Creighton baseball team completed the series sweep of Central Arkansas on Sunday, starting the season flawlessly at 3-0 for the first time since 2000. The Bluejays scored four runs in the first two innings en route to a 5-1 final. Creighton now holds a 4-1 all-time record over UCA.
Nick Musec picked up his first win of the season, coming in to pitch in the fourth inning and throwing 2.2 innings of work, allowing one earned run. Chance Ross led the Bluejays with a 3-for-5 day from the plate, and a pair of Bluejays added two hits each, as Alex Staehely and Brennan Murphy each hit safely twice in the afternoon. Staehely scored twice, while Jake Peter matched Nick Judkins and drove in a pair of runs each.
Judkins didn't waste any time putting the Bluejays on the scoreboard on Sunday, lacing an 0-1 pitch over the right field fence, a two-run shot that scored Ross who led off the game with a single up the middle. UCA's starting pitcher Ryan Angus then retired the Bluejays in order.
Creighton added another pair of runs in the top of the second. Alex Staehely picked up his first hit of the season to lead off the inning, hitting a single right back up the middle. Brennan Murphy then executed a perfect hit-and-run, roping a 3-2 pitch through the right side to advance Staehely, who was off on the pitch, to third.
After Murphy stole second, Erik Mattingly hit a deep fly to center to score Staehely and advance Murphy to third. Jake Peter then picked up his first collegiate hit in his first at-bat for the Jays with a single to left field, scoring Murphy from third. Creighton led 4-0 after just an inning and a half of play.
Andrew Urban used a little help from his defense in his first career start, finishing with 3.0 innings of work and one strikeout. The junior allowed a pair of hits and walked three batters, but used solid defensive plays, including a double play from Mattingly in left to Bemboom at catcher, to help keep the Bears scoreless.
UCA got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking advantage of a leadoff walk issued by Nick Musec to Michael Marietta. With Marietta on first, Forrestt Allday singled through the right side and the pair was advanced a base on a Jonathan Davis sacrifice bunt. Bryan Willson then grounded out to Peter at second, his only play being at first and allowing the run to score.
Creighton was held scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, when Angus issued a walk to Staehely and Murphy reached on an infield bunt, knocking Angus off the mound. The Jays used a sacrifice bunt by Mattingly on Ethan McKinzie's first pitch to move both runners into scoring position, before Peter drove a sacrifice fly to center to score Staehely. Creighton regained their four-run lead, 5-1 in the middle of the sixth.
The remainder of the game was dominated by pitching, as neither team could advance a runner past third base through the final three innings. Reese McGraw did run into a little trouble in the bottom of the 9th, as the Bears put runners on first and second. But McGraw forced a fly ball to Gerber to complete the sweep.
The Bluejays will be back in action next weekend, when they travel to Portland, Ore., as the second half of a home-and-home series. Creighton swept all three games from the Pilots last season, outscoring UP 27-6 in the three games at the CU Sports Complex. First pitch on Friday, Feb., 24 is set for 4:00 p.m.
NOTES: Andrew Urban became the first fresh face to make it into the starting rotation since Ty Blach earned a spot as the Sunday starter midway through his freshman season (2010). Urban is the first junior college transfer to start in the rotation since Jeremy Hauer started in 2008-09 (Hauer transferred from Indian Hills, Urban from Hutchinson CC) ... Jake Peter earned his first start on Sunday, finishing 1-for-2 from the plate, while playing second base. He became the first freshman since Michael Blatchford in 2010 to pick up a hit in his first at-bat ... Alex Staehely, who has made the switch to shortstop, also started at second base as a true freshman ... Creighton left the bases loaded twice on the weekend, including once in the game on Sunday. The Bluejays took advantage of a walk and an infield single to load them up, but Creighton couldn't push a run across ... Nick Musec threw 2.2 innings of relief, allowing one earned run and one hit on the afternoon ... Shane Liska made his first appearance as a Bluejay on Sunday, coming in the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. After hitting a batter, Liska got out of the inning with a strikeout ... Mark Winkelman became the first Bluejay pitcher to make multiple appearances on the season, tossing 2.2 innings on Friday and one inning today. Following closely, Reese McGraw tossed 1.2 innings on Saturday and the final 1.1 innings on Sunday. ... Erik Mattingly put up quite a battle in the top of the 8th inning, fouling off seven pitches in an 11-pitch at bat.