Second Straight Ninth Inning Rally Pushes Jays Past Braves, 4-2

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Reese McGraw picked up his second win in as many days Sunday
Courtesy: Eric Francis

PEORIA, Ill. - The Creighton baseball team used a ninth-inning rally for the second straight game to pick up their first Missouri Valley Conference series win of the 2012 season.  Creighton dropped Bradley 4-2 in game three, improving the Jays to 18-23 on the year, 5-12 in league play.  The loss dropped Bradley to 25-19, 8-10 in conference play.

Four of Creighton's five wins in conference play have all been won in the last at-bat, including both wins this weekend, the 10-inning 3-2 win against Evansville and the 15-inning, 6-5 win over Illinois State.

Anthony Bemboom led the Bluejays offensively on the day, accounting for three of Creighton's seven hits on the afternoon.  Chance Ross added a hit and a pair of RBI, while freshman Jake Peter scored twice in the win.

The Bluejays got on the board first for the second straight game, this time putting up a single run in the top of the third inning.  Jake Peter started off the inning with a single through the right side and advanced to second on Brennan Murphy's sacrifice bunt.  A single to left field scored Peter, with Ross advancing to second on the throw home.  Creighton took the 1-0 lead after the visitor half of the third inning.

Creighton starting pitcher Shane Liska sat down the Braves in order in the first two frames, not surrendering his first hit until the third inning.  Liska surrendered a leadoff hit to Bob schuch, but then struck out a pair of batters and forced an inning-ending fly out to center to retire the frame.

The Jays added another in the top of the fourth inning, rallying for a two-out run.  Mike Gerber tripled to the right center field gap, diving safely into the base without a throw from the relay.  Scott Thornburg then drove in his second RBI of the weekend, beating out an infield hit to give Creighton the 2-0 lead.

Creighton drove Bradley starting pitcher Tory Doerr off the mound in the top of the sixth inning.  Doerr gave up two earned runs on seven hits and struck out three batters, but left the game with runners on first and second.  Bemboom sat on second after a one out single and Gerber on first with a hit-by-pitch. 

Patrick Flanagan came in for the Braves and walked Thornburg to load the bases.  He finished the inning, stranding the bases full of Jays, forcing Peter to fly out to left field.

Liska left the game after the fifth inning, throwing 5.0 innings of shutout baseball in his fourth start of the season.  The right-hander surrendered just one hit, striking out three batters in his outing.

Mark Winkelman made his second appearance of the weekend, coming in as the first Bluejay reliever of the day in the sixth inning.  Winkelman got the first batter to fly out to Gerber in center before walking a batter and allowing a one-out single to right center.  A deep fly ball off the bat of Jason Leblebijian put runners on first and third before the Braves got on the board with a single to right from Austin Jarvis, winning the battle of a 10 pitch at-bat.

Chase Webb took over for Winkelman, coming into the game with two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth inning.  On his first pitch of the afternoon, Webb got Bob Schuch to ground out to Staehely at short, Creighton holding a 2-1 lead after six innings.

The Braves evened the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, using a pair of doubles from Max Murphy and Jason Leblebijian off reliever Kurt Spomer to push across a run.  Reese McGraw became the fifth Bluejay pitcher of the day, coming in to strike out back-to-back Braves to end the eighth.

Creighton led off the ninth with deep fly ball off the bat of Thornburg before the rally started, with Creighton taking advantage of a wild pitch and a pair of Braves throwing errors to push across a pair of runs. 

Peter drew a one-out walk and Brennan Murphy dropped a sacrifice bunt that was thrown into right field after being fielded by relief pitcher Jacob Booden.  With runners on second and third Booden then threw a wild pitch to allow the Jays to reclaim lead.  A throwing error by the second baseman allowed Murphy to slide safely into home, giving the Jays the 4-2 advantage.

McGraw retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the ninth, giving him his second win in as many days.

Creighton hosts a pair of midweek games this week, hosting Nebraska in the Nebraska Classic on Tuesday night followed the second meeting of the season with Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday night.  Both games will be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

NOTES: Creighton starting pitcher Shane Liska made his first appearance on the mound since his 4.0 innings against Southern Illinois on April 22.  He made an appearance as a pinch-runner on April 28, scoring the winning run over Illinois State ... Mike Gerber hit his second triple of the season in the top of the fourth inning, the fourth Bluejay with more than one triple on the season ... Bluejay starting pitcher Shane Liska was very accurate through the first four innings, not allowing a hit until the third inning and not walking his first batter until the fourth ... While games one and two of the series remained in the low 80's, Sunday's game three tipped the charts at 96 degrees ... Austin Jarvis' RBI single in the bottom of the sixth was a hard earned single.  Jarvis got his single on a 1-2 count, but fouled off seven pitches in the at-bat ... Chase Webb has allowed just one earned run in his last 17 appearances, including stranding three Braves today.  He allowed a leadoff double in the seventh, but erased the runner with a ground ball back to himself that he picked the lead runner ... The Bluejay bullpen played true to form on the weekend, allowing just one of seven inherited runners to score.  They have allowed just 24 of 81 runners to score on the season ... Bradley put runners in scoring position from the third through the eighth innings, scoring both runs in that time span ... Creighton had scored five runs total all season in the ninth inning prior to the weekend.  In the series with Bradley, Creighton pushed across seven runs in the final frame of the game ...

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