OMAHA, Neb. - Six Bluejay starters had multiple hits as the Creighton Baseball team improved to 23-9 with a 5-3 win over Nebraska before 8,395 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Friday, April 26.
Creighton jumped out on Nebraska early with two runs in the top of the first. Junior Federico Castagnini and sophomore Jake Peter set the stage with back-to-back singles, then senior Alex Staehely put the Jays an RBI double down the left field line. Freshman Reagan Fowler followed with an RBI groundout to shortstop, making it 2-0.
The Huskers got on the board in the third as Nebraska's Michael Pritchard flawlessly executed a safety squeeze to score Bryan Peters and halve the Jays' lead, 2-1.
The Bluejays responded in their next trip to the plate as senior Michael Blatchford stroked an RBI single to center. Blatchford's shot plated Fowler, who opened the inning with a single to right-center.
CU's lead stretched to 4-1 in the top of the seventh when Blatchford scored on a grounder to second base by Castagnini by evading the tag by Husker backstop Taylor Fish.
The insurance run proved crucial as Nebraska gave the Bluejays a scare in the bottom of the seventh. Creighton starter, freshman Tommy Strunc, walked Blake Headley on five pitches to open the frame before giving way to sophomore Mark Lukowski. After a single and a walk loaded the bases, senior Mark Winkelman came on in relief with no outs. Rich Sanguinetti's single up the middle would plate Headley for NU's second run of the game, and the Bluejay lead dropped to 4-3 on Pat Kelly's double-play groundout that scored Taylor Fish from third. Winkelman escaped the jam by getting Pritchard to fly out to left.
After both teams were held scoreless in the eighth, the Jays added to their lead in the top of the ninth. A Castagnini single with one out put men at the corners, and Brad McKewon would score on a Peter single to left. Husker closer Dylan Vogt avoided further damage by inducing an inning-ending double-play ball.
Peter moved from second base to the mound to close the door for Creighton's victory in the ninth. He struck out Josh Scheffert and Peters to open the frame before Sanguinetti flied out to left for the final out.
Strunc improved to 6-1 with the win, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out five in six-plus innings of work in the longest start by a Creighton pitcher versus Nebrask since 2002. Peter's save was his sixth of the year.
Six men had multiple hits for the Jays, paced by a three-hit day from Castagnini. Blatchford recorded his first multiple-hit game since March of 2011, while senior Jordan Makovicka also had two hits in the DH role. Peter, Staehely and Fowler also had two hits on the night.
Nebraska starter Christian DeLeon (5-3) was tagged with the loss, allowing 10 hits and four runs in 6.1 innings. Sanguinetti and Chad Christensen each had two hits.
Creighton and Nebraska continue play in the TD Ameritrade Classic on Saturday, April 27 as Nebraska plays Oklahoma State in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. The Jays, meanwhile, face Rutgers in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
NOTES: The crowd of 8,395 was Creighton's ninth-largest crowd in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history ...Creighton has now won eight straight games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha ...The 10 hits allowed by Christan DeLeon were the most given up by a pitcher in any game involving Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha ...Federico Castagnini extended his hitting streak to 11 with a first-inning single ... With his single in the fourth, Fowler has reached-base safely in all 28 games that he has played.