OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton plated unearned runs in each of the first two innings and did not look back as the Jays defeated Pacific, 5-2, on Sunday, March 17 to claim the series victory.
Bluejay freshman Reagan Fowler had a big day offensively, finishing 3-for-4 and scoring twice, while five Bluejay hurlers combined to slow a Pacific offense that has already earned wins vs. Arkansas, TCU and UNLV this spring.
Creighton drew first blood on Sunday with an unearned tally in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Brad McKewon reached on a throwing error, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Federico Castagnini, and to third on a single by sophomore Jake Peter. McKewon would score on a squeeze bunt from junior Mike Gerber, giving Creighton an early 1-0 lead.
An unearned run in the second inning made it 2-0, Bluejays. With one out and Fowler on second and freshman Ryan Fitzgerald on first, the Jays pulled off a double-steal. Pacific catcher Jason Taasaas tried to cut down Fitzgerald at second, but his throw ended up in centerfield as Fowler trotted home.
Pacific chased Creighton starter Brett Swain in the fourth inning. Dustin Torchio reached on an infield single with one out and moved to second on a walk to Erik Lockwood. Tyer Pederson followed with a sharp single to right that plated Torchio and ended Swain's day. Freshman Taylor Elman came on to pitch with two on and one out, and promptly induced a double-play ball to escape the threat with CU's lead intact at 2-1.
Brennan Murphy's RBI triple highlighted a two-run fourth inning for Creighton, his laser to the gap in right-center scoring Fowler. Murphy scampered home moments later on a wild pitch by Pacific starter Michael Benson.
Pacific scored one run in the seventh inning. With one out, Taasaas hit a tailor-made double-play ball, but it scooted through the legs of Bluejay shortstop Alex Staehely and extended the inning. Taylor Murphy made CU pay for the error, delivering a single to right to score Erik Lockwood. Senior Mark Winkelman escaped further damage when Jacob Goulder lined into a double play that saw Brennan Murphy double-up Taasaas at second.
The Jays added one insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Kevin Lamb's sacrifice fly drove home Staehely for the final margin.
Peter would move from second base to the mound for the ninth inning, and CU's new closer earned his second save of the week with a 1-2-3 inning.
Winkelman (2-0) was credited with the win as he tossed three innings of scoreless relief. Swain started with 3.1 innings of one-run ball, giving way to Elman. After Winkelman brought the Jays to the eighth, freshman Nick Highberger threw a scoreless eighth to lower his season ERA to 0.84. Finally, Peter came on in the ninth to provide a flawless inning for his second save of the season.
Creighton returns to action on Wednesday, March 20 as the Jays host South Dakota State on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
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