2012 Creighton Baseball
Creighton Bluejays (21-25)
vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (20-26) • May 15 @ 12:00 pm
TD Ameritrade Park Omaha
Creighton hosts Iowa on Tuesday afternoon in its final non-conference, regular-season game of the 2012 season. The Hawkeyes are making their secondt trip to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha this season, although rain washed out the first game between the two back on April 14.
Creighton baseball can be heard on the radio on Tuesday, with John Bishop and David Gustafson returning to the booth for the final mid-week, regular-season game. The noon start will be aired on 1290 KKAR, which is also available through a link on the www.gocreighton.com website. Also follow live stats at www.gocreighton.com and updates via Twitter @gocreighton and @cu_baseball.
We Love Mid-Day Games
Creighton and Iowa’s 12:00 pm noon start on Tuesday is Kids Day at the Ballpark. Kids from Omaha Public Schools as well as Council Bluffs schools will be on hand. It is also the second annual Play Hookie Day. Businessmen and women are encouraged to bring a note documenting why they are skipping work for the day, and will each receive a $4 ticket to get into the game.
The Bluejays wrap up the regular-season hosting Wichita State at the end of this week, Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19. Creighton will honor this years senior class on the Saturday afternoon game. The MVC Tournament will be played May 22-26 in Springfield, Mo., hosted by Missouri State.
• Creighton is 12-11 at home this season, hitting .243 in games played in Omaha (including both TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and the three-game series against North Dakota at the CU Sports Complex).
• The Jays are 10-6 at home against non-conference opponents.
• Head coach Ed Servais, the winningest coach in Creighton baseball history, picked up his 500th career win in the 8-1 win over Nebraska on Tuesday night. In his 18th year of coaching, Servais is 502-272-1.
• The Bluejays put together their first five-game winning streak of the season last week, outscoring opponents 47-30 and holding a .275 combined average.
• The pitching staff held opponents to a 1.40 ERA in the five-wins, while Bradley, Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha and game one against Dallas Baptist pitchers combined for a 4.93 ERA.
• The Jays have five conference wins this season, four of which have been won in Creighton’s final at-bat.
• Rain not only canceled the third game of the series between Creighton and Illinois State, it also forced the teams to play a doubleheader on Saturday. Rain has canceled four games already this season and forced the Jays to play doubleheaders in back-to-back conference series (Southern Illinois and Illinois State).
• The Bluejay pitching staff holds a 2.53 ERA at home this season, led by relievers Chase Webb, Kurt Spomer and Mark Winkelman who have a combined 0.64 ERA at home.
• Creighton has posted two shutouts this season, both which came at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. They include a 2-0 win over BYU and the 8-0 win over Indiana State. On the flip side, the Bluejays have been shut out five times this season, more than the last five years combined.
• The Jays became a ninth-inning rally machine at Bradley, pushing across seven ninth-inning runs in the three-game series. In total on the year, Creighton has pushed across just 11 runs in the ninth inning.
• The 15-innings it took to win the game against Illinois State (4/28) marked a TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record for innings in a single game. It also marks Creighton’s longest game since 1989, when the Jays defeated Kansas 7-5 in a 16-inning game.
• Creighton set a TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record on Tuesday, April 3, by hitting seven doubles in a single game. The previous best at the park was six, hit by Creighton in a 16-6 win over Bradley on May 1 of last season.
• Creighton finished March with a 9-10 record, the first time the Jays have finished the month with a sub-.500 record in Ed Servais’ tenure (finished 7-10 in 2003). They finished April 4-10 and are off to a 2-1 start in May.
• The Jays finished the month of April with a combined .213 batting average and a .308 on base percentage.
Coming into 2012
The Bluejays are coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, finishing 2011 with a 45-16 overall record. Creighton won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles in 2011, marking the first time in program history the Jays have claimed both in a single season.
Creighton returned seven starting position players from the squad last season, led by center fielder Mike Gerber and senior catcher Anthony Bemboom, both which were tabbed preseason All-MVC. Gerber finished with a .280 average last season, playing flawless defense in center, while Bemboom shot down seven runners attempting to steal and finished with a .233 average.
Highlighting a deep pitching staff will be junior Ty Blach, who picked up preseason All-America nods. The southpaw held a 10-3 record last season, fanning 100 batters in 102.0 innings of work. Out of the pen, which lost just one pitcher from last season (Jack VanLeur), look for Kurt Spomer (13 saves in 2011),Mark Winkelman (35 appearances) and Reese McGraw (35 appearances, 5 saves) to headline one of the deepest staff’s in Ed Servais’’ tenure.
At The Plate
• Creighton has struggled offensively this season, coming into the game against Iowa without a starter hitting over .300. Nick Judkins was over the .300 mark for much of the season, but now sits at .293, the highest mark for a starter.
• The Bluejay offense picked up during the five-game win streak, hitting a combined .275. Scott Thornburg led all hitters with a .438 average through the five games, all at the designated hitter spot.
• Thornburg has been Creighton’s hottest hitter as of late, as the senior hit .412 last week, scoring four runs and picking up his first triple of the season.
• In 23 games at home this season, Creighton sits at 12-11 and is hitting .243 as a team, with Nick Judkins and Chance Ross leading the charge with .300 and .278 averages, respectively.
• The Bluejays have seven home runs at home this season, but just one of those came at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Creighton had six home runs in a doubleheader played at the CU Sports Complex against North Dakota on March 17.
• The lone Bluejay home run at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha was hit by Alex Staehely on March 31 against Evansville.
• Brad McKewon led all Bluejays with eight hits last week and was second on the team with four runs driven in. He has made 36 starts in left field; 11 straight starts.
• Chance Ross hit in the winning run in the 15-inning win over Illinois State on April 28. Ross has 19 RBI this season, while Anthony Bemboom and Mike Gerber lead the team with 27 RBI each.
• Jordan Makovicka took advantage of a pair of starts in left field against Southern Illinois (4/21), hitting .333 with a team-high three walks.
• Mike Gerber became the first Bluejay since Darin Ruf in 2008 to hit a grand slam. Gerber drove one out in the first inning of the 12-3 win over North Dakota.
• Gabriel Thibodeaux drove out a pair of home runs in game two against North Dakota.
• Brennan Murphy was a perfect 3-3 in stolen bases while in California last week and now sits 6-6 on the season. Chance Ross leads the Bluejays at 11-14 on the season. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 52, but a player hasn’t stolen more than 27 bases since 2002.
On the pitcher’s mound, six different Bluejay pitchers have made starts this season. Ty Blach, Erik Mattingly and Shane Liska have turned in impressive performances to earn spots in the starting rotation. Mattingly put together a 9.0 inning, no-hit effort in the Saturday, April 7 12-inning loss to Indiana State, while Liska picked up his first win as a Bluejay in the 8-0 shutout of Indiana State, April 8. Blach has been best as of late, putting together a pair of complete game outings in his last two Friday night starts. Mark Winkelman leads the staff with 29 appearances on the season, holding a 1-0 record in relief on the mound.
• The Creighton pitching staff is significantly better at home this season, holding a 2.53 ERA in games in Omaha (TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and the CU Sports Complex) and a 3.47 overall ERA.
• In TD Ameritrade Park Omaha specific games, the Bluejay pitching staff holds a 2.64 ERA and is holding opponents to a .226 average against.
• Creighton’s pitching staff holds a 2.53 ERA at home this season, led by the bullpen. Chase Webb, Kurt Spomer and Mark Winkelman each have sub-1.00 ERA’s at home this season, holding a 0.47, 0.54 and 0.90 ERA, respectively.
• The Bluejay bullpen holds a 2.14 ERA at home this season, while the starting rotation is combining for a 2.93 ERA at home.
• Bluejay reliever Mark Winkelman has come into the game six different times at home with runners on base, and has let just one runner score (8/1). He surrendered his first inherited run on May 13 against Dallas Baptist.
• Chase Webb leads the Creighton pitching staff on the season, holding a team-low 1.96 earned run average in 25 appearances, but has just one win this year.
• Ty Blach leads all starters with nine starts on the mound at home this season, but holds a 3.12 ERA, allowing 15 earned runs in his team-high 43.1 innings at home.
• On the season Blach leads the NCAA with 17 games started, eight more starts than any other Bluejay pitcher this season.
• Ty Blach threw his first career 9.0 inning, complete game against Dallas Baptist last Friday. It marks the second straight Friday night start the southpaw has thrown a complete game.
• Kurt Spomer had struggled in the early portions of the season, but has been nearly flawless at home this season. The reliever holds a 0.54 ERA at home, allowing just one earned run in 16.2 innings of work. He surrendered just two hits in his 2.0 innings of work over the weekend against Dallas Baptist.
• Ty Blach has yet to record a win in Missouri Valley Conference play this season, as does Saturday starter Erik Mattingly.
• The Creighton pitching staff had a combined 0.50 ERA in the first two games at home this season, allowing just one earned run in the two games combined.
• The Creighton pitching staff finished the MVC opening weekend with a 5.25 ERA, the highest in a single weekend this season.
• Ty Blach and Reese McGraw have each been named MVC Pitchers of the Week already this season.
• Freshman Mark Lukowski made his first appearances on the mound in California; Lukowski tossed a pair of innings at Sacramento State and Pacific.
A Look at Iowa (20-26)
Iowa is coming off a 1-2 weekend at Michigan State, winning the middle game of the series to pick up its 20th win of the season. The Hawkeyes now sit at 20-26 overall on the season, but have won just four of the last 10 games. Iowa is 4-11 in true road games, but 11-19 in games played away from Duane Banks Field in Iowa City.
The club is hitting .258 collectively, led by Phil Keppler (.336), Mike McQuillan (.325) and Jacob Yacinich (.302), who are all hitting over .300 on the season. McQuillan has a team high 39 runs scored and 12 swiped bases, while Yacinich has driven in 23 runs. Iowa’s power comes from Chett Zeise, who is hitting .260 and has a .391 slugging percentage. Zeise has team-leading 13 doubles, three home runs and 66 total bases.
The Hawkeye pitching staff holds a 4.36 ERA collectively, with three complete games and eight saves as a team. They are allowing just over five runs per game and opponents are hitting .269 against the staff, collectively. Tuesday’s starter, Ricky Sandquist, holds a 9.26 ERA in six appearances this season. He has thrown just 11.2 innings, allowing 12 earned runs and 17 hits, seven of which are for extra bases.
Iowa sits 51-70 in stolen bases, led by McQuillan’s 12-15. The team holds a .966 fielding percentage, committing 61 errors this season.
Meet the Coaches
Creighton: Ed Servais (9th Season): Ed Servais is in his ninth season leading the Creighton baseball program in 2012, holding a 320-190 record while at the helm of CU baseball. He became the winningest coach in program history, surpassing Jack Dahm (283) and Jim Hendry (289) in 2011, when he led his team to a 45-16 overall record, Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Servais was named the MVC Coach of the Year following the 2011 season, the fourth time he has earned the award in his eight years at Creighton.
Servais currently holds a .628 winning percentage at the helm of the Jays, the top number in school history. He has taken the Bluejays to three NCAA Tournaments, including 2011. He has also led the Bluejays to an average of 37 wins in each of the last eight seasons.
Servais’ tenure has ranked among the best as a Creighton head coach, placing him second in the Missouri Valley Conference, fifth in the Midwest, and in the top 20 in the nation in winning percentage during that time. The Bluejays are one of just 10 schools in the Midwest to earn five or more NCAA Regional berths in the last 13 years, and one of two in the MVC along with Wichita State. Servais also has led the Jays to the MVC Tournament title in 2007 and regular-season crown in 2005, and both in the 2011 season.
His teams have finished among the nation’s best in fielding percentage and sacrifice bunts every season, including 2011, when the Bluejays finished fourth in fielding percentage (.980) and fourth in sacrifice bunts, with 84. Since coming to Creighton, Servais’ teams have committed the fewest errors in the nation, while holding a .977 fielding percentage in the last eight seasons, which also leads the country.
Iowa: Jack Dahm (9th Season): In eight years as Iowa’s head baseball coach, Jack Dahm has established the Hawkeyes as Big Ten contenders and is ready to lead the Iowa baseball program to new heights with his commitment to excellence.
Since taking over the Iowa baseball team in July of 2003, Dahm has sparked resurgence in the Hawkeye program, having success Hawkeye fans hadn’t seen in years. Dahm has guided the Black and Gold to 30 or more wins two of the last five seasons.
In Dahm’s 18 years as a head coach, he has produced 24 first team all-conference performers, eight freshmen All-Americans and two All-Americans.
Before coming to Iowa City, Dahm spent 18 years as a member of the Creighton Bluejays baseball program. Dahm arrived at Creighton in 1986 to play under Jim Hendry and spent four years as a student-athlete (1986-89). In 1990, Dahm accepted a position as a graduate assistant under Hendry and spent four years helping build Creighton into a Missouri Valley Conference power.
In 1991, Dahm was promoted to a full-time assistant as he helped the Bluejays reach the College World Series. That Creighton squad ended the season as the second-highest hitting club in the nation, batting .355. The team’s 60 triples, in 1991, led the nation and remain a school record.
In October of 1993, Dahm was hired as Creighton’s head coach, becoming the youngest head coach in Division I at the age of 25. For the next ten years, five of Dahm’s teams finished in the top three of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Series vs. The Hawkeyes
The Bluejays trail in the series with Iowa, as the Hawkeyes hold a 12-9 edge in the series. Creighton won the game last season 5-3 in Iowa City, the win that put Ed Servais atop the Creighton all-time coaching charts. The Bluejays have won the last four straight games between the two teams.
At Home this Season
• Jays are 17-2 all-time a TDAPO when scoring 4 runs or more, and 13-1 at TDAPO when scoring 5 runs or more.
• Creighton had won 22 straight home games when scoring 5 runs or more prior to the 8-6 loss against Dallas Baptist on Sunday, May 13.
• Creighton is 12-2 all-time at TDAPO when scoring in the 1st inning.
• Creighton is 7-0 all-time at TDAPO when it owns 11 or more hits.
• Creighton has won 35 straight home games when scoring 8 or more runs.
• Chase Webb surrendered his first earned run this season at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in the 8-6 loss against Dallas Baptist. He has surrendered just one earned run in 19.1 innings. In his last 15 appearances (dating back to last season), Webb has allowed just 12 hits in those 23.0 innings.
The Bluejays are 5-3 so far in May, holding a 2-1 mark in conference with the series win at Bradley. The Bluejays are hitting .254 collectively during the month, with Scott Thornburg leading all players with a .333 average and a .407 slugging percentage. Creighton is outscoring opponents 67-53 during the month and holds a .980 fielding percentage.
On the pitching mound, Andrew Urban (3.0 innings) and Brandon Koenigstein (2.0 innings) are the lone Jays who haven’t surrendered a run in the month. The staff holds a 2.79 ERA.
Creighton tied a single-inning high in the loss to Dallas Baptist on Sunday, May 13, putting together five hits in the five run fifth inning. Creighton also had five consecutive hits in the win over UNO on Wednesday, May 9.
Jumping on Top
The Bluejays have now scored first in 18 games this season, including two games last weekend against Dallas Baptist (May 11-May 12).
Creighton has scored in the first inning at home seven times this season.
We Put Together Five…
• Creighton’s 5-0 streak marked the longest win streak of the season for the Jays, besting the previous three-game streak set twice.
• Five different Bluejay pitchers have a 0.00 ERA, with Ty Blach (10.0 innings), Shane Liska (6.0 innings), Chase Webb (5.0 innings), Brandon Koenigstein (2.0 innings) and Andrew Urban (1.0 innings) all helping the team to a 1.40 overall ERA.
• Reese McGraw had a 2-0 record, striking out four in 5.2 innings of work.
• Ty Blach also put together a 2-0 record, including his 9.0 inning complete game against Dallas Baptist (5/11/12).
• The Jays hit .275 collectively, led by Scott Thornburg, Mike Gerber and Anthony Bemboom who are hitting .438, .412, and .350, respectively.
• Eight different Bluejays started and played in all five games, with Brennan Murphy and Jordan Makovicka splitting time in the final position.
• Creighton outscored opponents 46-30 in the five wins, outhitting opponents by nearly 100 points (.275 to .190).
Bluejay head coach Ed Servais surpassed another coaching milestone this season, picking up his 500th career win in the 8-1 win over Nebraska on May 8. The skipper eclipsed his 300th win at Creighton in the 2012 season opener, and is the winningest head coach in Creighton baseball history.
Senior catcher Anthony Bemboom led the Bluejays offensively at Bradley, helping propel the Jays to their first Valley series win of the 2012 season. Bemboom hit .400 on the week, leading the team with four hits, including a 3-3 day in the 4-2 win on Sunday. Bemboom had a team high .455 on base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage in the three games last week.
Reese McGraw pitched flawless innings on the at Bradley (5/4-5/6), picking up a pair of wins in his two appearances. McGraw finished the weekend with 3.2 innings of no-hit baseball, striking out two batters and not issuing a free pass all weekend (no walks or hit batters). He lowered his ERA to 2.80 over the weekend, and now is the team-leader in wins (4) and saves (4).
Dodged that Bullet
Creighton won the final two games of the series at Bradley, giving the Jays their first MVC series win of the season. It also gave Creighton a pair of Valley wins on the road, their first two of the season. You have to go back to 1984 to find the last time the Jays failed to win a single Valley game on the road.
Until the Fat Lady Sings
Creighton has five conference wins this season, four of which have come in the final at-bat for the Bluejays. Creighton defeated Evansville 3-2 in the bottom of the 10th inning at home, while also winning 6-5 over Illinois State in the bottom of the 15th inning. The Jays put up four runs in the ninth on Saturday for a 7-4 win and two in the ninth on Sunday for a 4-2 win, both against Bradley.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
Creighton finished the month of April 4-10, holding a combined .213 batting average. The lone Bluejay hitting better than .300 during the month of April was Chance Ross, (.302).
In comparison, the Bluejays went 13-5 in April of 2011, hitting .272 as a team. Trever Adams (.452), Alex Staehely (.323) and Mike Gerber (.320) led the Bluejays through the month. Creighton went on to hit .255 and finish May 14-4 with both an MVC regular season and tournament title.
You Just Stay There
One way to keep a spot in the Creighton bullpen is to limit the runs you allow to cross the plate. The staff has come into the game with 87 runners on base this season, allowing just 26 of them to score.
Below is the list of bullpen pitchers and their inherited runners scored.
Player Inherited Scored
Ryan Knott 1 1
Brandon Koenigstein 3 1
Shane Liska 7 1
Erik Mattingly 2 0
Reese McGraw 9 3
Nick Musec 5 0
Kurt Spomer 12 4
Andrew Urban 2 2
Chase Webb 25 5
Mark Winkelman 21 9
Not Just Another Number
The Bluejays came from behind against Illinois State to win 6-5 in 15-innings on April 28. It marked the first time this season Creighton has won a game when trailing after the eighth inning, with Creighton accomplishing the same feat at Bradley (5/5). In fact, the last time Creighton did that was on April 3, 2011, when the Jays were down 3-2 to Portland and put up a pair of runs in the ninth to win.
Under Ed Servais, Creighton is just 8-131when trailing after the eighth inning, and hold a 240-11 mark when leading after the eighth inning.
He Does it All
Erik Mattingly made his first start as a position player against Illinois State (4/28) since starting in the outfield on March 27 against Nebraska-Omaha. He has made five starts on the mound and one as designated hitter during the last month.
In the First
Creighton scored three runs in the first inning of game one against Illinois State (April 28), marking the seventh time at home this season they have put up at least a single run in the first. The three runs are the second most, however, as they scored five runs in the first against North Dakota on March 17.
Chance Ross’ solo home run against Bradley gave Creighton the lead after the first in the 7-4 Saturday win (5/5/12).
The Bluejays also put up runs in the first inning against Nebraska and Nebraska Omaha, pushing across three in the May 8 game vs. the Huskers and one against Nebraska Omaha on May 9.
One for the Nice Guy
Ty Blach remains without a win in conference play this season, as he picked up the loss in his 8.0 innings of work last weekend against Bradley, marking the first complete game for the Bluejays this season.
Blach finished the 2011 season with a 4-1 mark in The Valley.
An Unlikely Hero
Michael Blatchford was called upon in the bottom of the 15th inning against Illinois State on April 28, picking up a one-out single that started the rally to win the game 6-5 for Creighton. It marked Blatchford’s first appearance since March 4, when he injured his knee sliding into second at UC Davis.
Creighton skipper Ed Servais then turned to Sunday starter Shane Liska as a pinch runner, and the Xavier transfer crossed the plate with the game-winning run on Chance Ross’ single to center.
Using the Staff Well
All three of Creighton’s weekend starters made appearances in game one against Illinois State on April 28. Ty Blach started on the mound, Eric Mattingly started in right field, and Shane Liska made a pinch-running appearance in the 15th inning.
The Bluejays used 21 different players in game one: five pitchers, five pinch hitters, a pinch runner all in addition to the starting lineup.
Creighton has now played in three doubleheaders this season, and has swept one (vs. North Dakota), been swept in one (Southern Illinois) and split the two games against Illinois State.
Hits, Hits, Hits
Creighton has struggled offensively this season, holding a combined .236 average with not one single player hitting over .300 heading into the weekend.
Eight is Great
Ty Blach threw 8.0 complete innings of work in the game on Friday at Bradley (5/4), allowing three runs, but not walking a single batter. It marks the sixth time in his career the junior has gone for 8.0 innings, although he did it just once last season. The six outings, including hits surrendered and strikeouts, are listed below:
Date Opponent K Hits
5/4/12 at Bradley 3 6
2/24/12 at Portland 2 2
2/20/11 vs. Missouri State 8 4
4/4/10 vs. Indiana State 4 5
4/18/10 at Bradley 6 6
4/25/10 at Missouri State 6 6
Make them Earn It
While the Creighton pitching staff has shown its depth and power both at times this season, the one thing it has been best at is limiting the amount of walks issued. Creighton leads the league with just 141 walks issued this season. The Bluejays sit in the middle of the Valley in hit-batters, plunking 42.
The pitching staff combined to allow just two walks in the wins over Nebraska (5/8) and Nebraska Omaha (5/9).
Creighton’s combined season high for walks in a single game came against Illinois State, 4/28, when they walked eight batters.
What a Relief
Bluejay relievers Reese McGraw, Chase Webb and Kurt Spomer each put up scoreless innings to close out the 15-inning win over Illinois State on April 28. McGraw started things off with 2.2 innings on the mound, allowing just two hits while striking out two. Webb followed with 2.0 innings, also surrendering a pair of hits but not allowing any of the 11 batters faced to score.
Spomer picked up his first Valley win of the season, closing out the game with 3.0 flawless innings on the mound. The senior struck out one batter and did not surrender a single hit in his 22nd outing of the season.
The trio combined to throw 7.2 innings of three-hit baseball at Bradley.
A Different Sort of Record
Creighton’s struggling offense this season marks the lowest combined batting average under head coach Ed Servais. The team, which is hitting .236 this season, is nearly 40 points under the previous low, set in 2011 when the Jays hit .267, but finished 45-16 overall on the season.
The all-time lowest team batting average came in 1971 when the team collectively hit .229.
Inning by Inning
• The Bluejays are 18-1 when leading after five innings, but are 3-20 when trailing after the fifth inning.
• Creighton is 2-6 on the season when scoring three runs, but flips that around and is 6-4 when allowing opponents to score exactly three runs.
• The Bluejays have scored their most runs in the first inning, pushing across 33 in the frame. The Jays have now scored 11 runs in the ninth inning, thanks to two the first time they played Nebraska (4/10) and four in the comeback win at Bradley (5/5).
• On the contrary, Creighton is surrendering the most runs in the fifth inning, allowing 29 in the frame. They are not surrendering single-digits to opponents in any frame.
If You Build It...
Creighton hosted Nebraska on Tuesday, playing in front of the largest home crowd this season of 12,184 fans. That marked the second largest crowd of the season in the NCAA, and third in Creighton history at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The number was bigger than four Major League Baseball attendances from May 8, ousting Chicago (AL) at Cleveland (11,304), Texas at Baltimore (11,263), Toronto at Oakland (10,784) and Washington at Pittsburgh (10,323).
The Bluejays are averaging 3,473 fans at home this season, which sits 14th in the nation this week. Wichita State is the only other team in the Valley in the top-25, averaging 3,013 fans to Eck Stadium in each contest, which is good for 19th in the nation.
Jake Peter’s first career home run against SIU on Sunday was the second of the game for the Bluejays, who have now hit at least two home runs in two different games this season.
In a Pinch
While Creighton has struggled overall in pinch hit situations, Brad McKewon’s two-RBI single in the sixth inning on Sunday, April 22 helped keep Creighton in the series finale game at Southern Illinois.
Michael Blatchford then became the hero in the win on April 28 over Illinois State, ripping a single to left field and hobbling down the first base line.
The Jays are just 4-of-36 in pinch hit situations this season, a .111 average. Blatchford and McKewon join Gabriel Thibodeaux and Petr Zyma on that list.
The Creighton defense has been among the nations leaders in double plays per game in the past, and had turned 33 double plays going into the weekend at Southern Illinois. It marked the first weekend this season that Creighton did not turn a single double play against their opponent, while the Jays hit into just one.
The Bluejays hit a pair of home runs at Southern Illinois on Sunday (a two run shot from Mike Gerber and a career-first from Jake Peter), marking just the second time this season the Jays have hit multiple home runs in a single game (also against North Dakota on March 17 - hit five).
Creighton has 13 home runs all season, although six came in the doubleheader vs. North Dakota on March 17.
The Bluejays have just one home run in the 20 games played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha (Alex Staehely, March 31 vs. Evansville)
Top and Bottom
The Creighton pitching staff has continued to get stronger as the season has progressed. After putting up a season high 5.19 ERA over the weekend at UC Davis (March 2-4), the Bluejay staff has significantly improved, sitting third in the MVC with a 3.38 overall earned run average. Creighton’s best weekend series came against Indiana State, when the Bluejays held the high-powered Sycamore offense to just six earned runs on the weekend, and a 1.80 ERA.
Bluejay center fielder Mike Gerber started off the season slow, but has turned things up in the last couple of weeks. Since the start of the Indiana State series (April 6 - 20 games), Gerber is second on the team with a .282 average, .437 slugging percentage and .366 on-base percentage. He has four doubles, two triples and a home run, while sitting second with 11 runs driven in during that time frame.
Gerber hit a two-run home run in the second inning of game three at Southern Illinois over the weekend, finishing the day 1-2 with two runs scored and two runs driven in. He also walked a pair of times on the afternoon.
The Bluejay defense had an uncharacteristic week in the infield, committing six combined errors in their three games from April 9-15 (including three the last game against Nebraska). That accounted for over 20-percent of the Bluejays 28 total errors this season.
A Little Run Support
Senior Erik Mattingly has been moved into the starting rotation on the mound, sitting second among Bluejay starting pitchers with a 2.98 ERA in 14 appearances, nine starts. But the right hander sits at 1-3 overall this season, partially because of a lack of run support by the Bluejay offense. In his 51.1 innings of work this season, Creighton has scored just 14 runs while he is on the mound.
That number includes his 12.0 consecutive no-hit innings, spanning from his 9.0 no-hit effort against Indiana State (4/8) to the start against South Dakota State (5/13), without a single run from the Bluejay offense.
The Best of the Best
In the greatest pitching performance of his career, Bluejay pitcher Erik Mattingly went 9.0 innings without surrendering a hit and striking out three in his Saturday, April 7 start against Indiana State. The right hander hit one batter in the first inning and another reached by error, but Mattingly retired the rest of the Sycamore lineup in order in the 2-0, 12-inning loss for the Bluejays. Mattingly’s outing would have been the first nine-inning no-hitter in Creighton baseball history.
Mattingly was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, as well as picking up MVC Pitcher of the Week honors.
Bluejay shortstop Alex Staehely had his roughest start to a season in 2012, not picking up a hit until his third game and still hitting .171 in game 9 of the year. Since then, Staehely has been on the up slide, improving his overall average to .224. He had reached base safely in 13 straight games, the second longest streak in 2012.
Chance Ross owns the top streak this season, as the senior started off the season reaching base safely in 19 straight games.
Bluejay junior shortstop Alex Staehely has played in every game since stepping on campus at Creighton, and until Sunday, April 15, had started every game (144) straight. Staehely was not allowed to start due to coaches decisions following an ejection from the game on Friday night against SDSU.
Petr Zyma was put in the starting lineup for the first time, starting at second base while Jake Peter moved over to shortstop.
Staehely came into the game in the third inning, first as a pinch-hitter and then returning to his position at short.
Creighton set a new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record with seven doubles in the win against Kansas on Tuesday, April 3. The Bluejays have twice hit five doubles this season (at Portland and at Pacific), but hadn’t hit more than one in a game since March 17 against North Dakota.
It also marked the biggest doubles output in a single game since they also hit seven doubles against Wichita State on May 8, 2004.
As a team, Creighton hit 14 doubles that week, led by Nick Judkins’ four. Chance Ross, Alex Staehely, Jake Peter and Scott Thornburg each had two doubles on the week.
Freshman Jake Peter led the team with two doubles against Kansas. Peter had four doubles in his first five games, but just one in the next 18 before the April 3 game.
It marks the third time this season a single player has hit a pair of doubles in a game, as Scott Thornburg hit two against Portland and Judkins had a pair against Indiana State.
Tough at the Top
The first four batters in the Bluejay lineup combined for six of Creighton’s 10 hits in the 7-3 win over Kansas on Tuesday, April 3. The four batters (Brad McKewon, Chance Ross, Nick Judkins and Anthony Bemboom) are Creighton’s top everyday starting players this season.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
The Creighton baseball program carries a great deal of tradition, including players that are still playing in the Minor Leagues. Seven former Bluejays are still active, with one playing AAA ball, a pair in AA and the rest in A ball.
Pat Venditte AAA Yankees
Darin Ruf AA Phillies
Elliott Soto AA Cubs
Kirk Clark A+ Astros
Jimmy Swift A+ Angels
Jonas Dufek A Astros
Trever Adams A Rangers
The Creighton baseball team has always been known for their defense, sitting in the top-10 since head coach Ed Servais took over the Bluejay program. Currently, the Jays are eighth in the nation with a .978 fielding percentage, which is good for the lead in the conference.
Year Fielding % Place
2012 .978 8th
2011 .981 5th
2010 .980 4th
2009 .980 2nd
2008 .976 3rd
2007 .974 8th
2006 .965 87th
2005 .972 17th
2004 .982 1st
2003 .962 103rd
Check Him Out
• Andrew Urban became the first Bluejay newcomer since Ty Blach’s freshman year to make it into the starting rotation in his first year on campus. The JUCO transfer is the first since Jeremy Hauer to make it into the starting rotation since 2008-09.
• Urban has made 11 appearances this season, six of which were starts.
• Urban’s longest outing this season was 5.2 innings, allowing a pair of unearned runs on three hits against North Dakota (3/17).
• Urban holds a 9:5 walk to strikeout ratio this season, giving up six extra base hits. He tied his career-high for strikeouts in a single game (2) against Dallas Baptist (5/12).
Michael Mutcheson made his first appearance in 23 games Tuesday, April 3 against Kansas, finishing 1-3 from the plate with a walk and a double. He missed the middle of the season with a back injury after starting the first two games of the season at second base.
Mark Winkelman (2.0), Kurt Spomer (1.0) and Reese McGraw (1.0) combined for the final four innings of the game in the midweek game against Kansas (4/3), not allowing a single Kansas runner to reach base safely. The three combined for five strikeouts in the four innings.
For the first time this season, the Bluejays sent a different batter to the plate to start off the game on Saturday, March 31, against Evansville. Chance Ross had been the first batter in the Bluejay lineup for the first 23 games of the season, when hot-hitting Brad McKewon earned the spot. McKewon finished the day 3-5 from the plate.
Three different players have now seen time in the leadoff spot, with Jordan Makovicka joining both Ross and McKewon in the order.
The Bluejays have already been a part of five extra inning games this season, defeating Central Arkansas 7-3, falling 3-2 at Portland, winning 3-2 against Evansville and falling 2-0 in 12-innings against Indiana State. The Bluejays have played at least four extra inning games the last five years, with six extra frame games in each of the last three years.
Been Here Before
2012 doesn’t mark the first time the Bluejays have started with an 11-11 mark. In fact, Creighton has had worse starts in the Ed Servais tenure. Below are the first 22 games, along with the complete record at the end of the season in the last 10 years:
2012 11-11 ??
2011 17-5 45-16 overall
2010 14-8 27-25 overall
2009 8-14 31-25 overall
2008 15-7 37-21 overall
2007 13-9 45-16 overall
2006 17-5 31-21 overall
2005 17-5 48-17 overall
2004 12-10 35-24 overall
2003 7-15 20-37 overall
2002 11-11 30-24 overall
This and That
• The last time a Creighton team dropped five straight games prior to 2012 was May 8 - May 15, 2009
• The Bluejays loss against Nebraska Omaha on March 27 was the first loss in 10 games against the Mavs.
• The last time Creighton scored just five runs in four consecutive game combined was to close out the 2003 season, when the Jays beat Bradley 2-0 in a pair of game, lost to Missouri State 5-1 and to Indiana State 2-0 in the MVC Tournament. Creighton scored just five runs from March 23-27, 2012.
Brad McKewon was the bright spot in the Bluejays offense over the opening MVC weekend at Missouri State, leading the Jays with a 5-for-11 (.455) performance from the plate in the conference opening weekend. The sophomore outfielder was the lone player to record three hits in a game on the weekend, putting up a three-spot in the Friday night game. McKewon had a .455 slugging percentage, and used a walk to aid his on-base percentage, safely reaching .500 percent of the time. McKewon put down one sacrifice bunt and was 1-1 in stolen bases on the weekend.
In the Conference Opener
Creighton holds an 11-16 overall record in Missouri Valley Conference openers since 1984. The Bluejays are now 4-5 in the opening game under head coach Ed Servais.
2012 L 0-3 Missouri State
2011 L 4-5 Illinois State
2010 W 4-2 Southern Illinois
2009 W 7-3 Indiana State
2008 L 8-9 Missouri State
2007 L 0-6 Evansville
2006 L 0-4 Bradley
2005 W 8-2 Illinois State
2004 W 2-0 Missouri State
In the Conference Series Opener
Head coach Ed Servais is 6-3 in the MVC series opener in his first nine years, with the lone series losses coming at Missouri State this season, in 2008 and at Bradley in 2006. The Bluejays have swept just once in the series opener under Servais, a three-game sweep of Illinois State in 2005, while 2012 marked the first time the Jays have been swept on opening weekend under Ed Servais. Overall, Creighton holds a 13-12-3 record in MVC Opening series.
Conference Series Openers Under Servais
2012 0-3 @ Missouri State
2011 2-1 @ Illinois State
2010 2-1 @ Southern Illinois
2009 2-1 @ Indiana State
2008 1-2 @ Missouri State
2007 2-1 @ Evansville
2006 1-2 @ Bradley
2005 3-0 @ Illinois State
2004 2-1 @ Missouri State
Life on the Road
Creighton has opened the Missouri Valley Conference portion of their schedule on the road each of the last eight years under Ed Servais. The Bluejays haven’t hosted the opening MVC weekend since 2003, when they hosted Missouri State in a four game series. The Jays split with the Bears, Creighton winning the first two games (3-2 and 4-3) and MSU taking the final two (11-1, 4-2). The Bluejays have also hosted MVC opening weekends in 1993, 1992, 1991 and 1989
Putting up a Donut
Erik Mattingly has made 14 appearances on the mound in different games this season, holding a 2.98 earned run average. The senior, who also sees playing time in the outfield and as the designated hitter, has made scoreless appearances six of the 13 outings this season, allowing 17 earned runs on 39 hits this season.
* Mattingly went a career-high 9.0 innings against Indiana State on April 7. He struck out three batters and didn’t allow a hit in his near no-hit bid.
* He then extended that streak at the opening of the South Dakota State game, finishing with 12.0 consecutive no-hit innings.
* Mattingly is holding his opponents to a .198 batting average against when at home this season, allowing just nine earned runs in 35.1 innings of work.
Happy on the Home Mound
The Bluejay pitching staff has had its struggles early this season, but turned things around immensely the first five games at home March 13-17), holding a combined 1.20 earned run average and posting a 4-1 record. Nine different Bluejays posted flawless outings on the mound, with seven of the nine pitching at least 2.2 innings. Andrew Urban made a pair of starts, throwing 6.2 scoreless innings with a 1-0 record, while Mark Winkelman, Reese McGraw and Kurt Spomer combined out of the bullpen to make nine appearances and surrender seven hits total in 10.1 innings of work. The trio did not surrender a run through the week.
On the season, the Creighton pitching staff holds a 253 ERA at home, holding opponents to a .226 batting average.
Creighton baseball senior Anthony Bemboom was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday. It marks the first time the senior from Sauk Rapids, Minn., has earned the award.
Bemboom led the Bluejays offensively last week, picking up a team-high eight hits and scoring five runs to lead the Jays to a 4-1 week. In the five-game home stand, Bemboom hit .471, starting all five games. He had a .824 slugging percentage, picking up 14 total bases on the week thanks to three doubles and a home run. Bemboom went a perfect 4-4 from the plate with a pair of singles, a double and a solo home run in the 16-3 win over North Dakota on Saturday afternoon. The senior did not strike out on the week, the only Bluejay in the starting lineup to accomplish the feat last week. He led the Bluejays with a .550 on-base percentage with three walks.
The Bluejays put up a combined 28 runs on 27 hits in the doubleheader wins over North Dakota on Saturday, March 17. It is the largest output of runs in two consecutive games since 2006, when the Jays scored 30 runs in wins over Belmont and Tennessee Tech.
The game marked the lone return of the season to the CU Sports Complex, the former home of the Creighton baseball team.
Ain’t Life Grand
Sophomore Mike Gerber hit Creighton’s first grand slam since 2008 (Darin Ruf) in the win over North Dakota on Saturday, March 17. The Bluejay center fielder had seven home runs last season in his rookie campaign and has three this season.
This and That
* Creighton has now won the opening home series in nine of the last 10 seasons. The Bluejays have now hit at least one triple in four straight games, one in four of the five home games this home stand.
* Brad McKewon, Gabriel Thibodeaux and Petr Zyma each hit their first career home run as a Bluejay in game two on Saturday, March 17 vs. North Dakota.
* Anthony Bemboom had four hits in game two on Saturday, March 17 against North Dakota, coming just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. The last player to do that was Ryan Fitzgerald in 2003
* Anthony Bemboom tied his single-game high with eight bases in the second game against North Dakota.
* Creighton hit six home runs total in the afternoon series against UND (March 17), doubling their total on the season (3) at that point in one afternoon.
* Nick Musec improved to 3-0 following the win against North Dakota on Saturday, March 17, joining Ty Blach as the first two Jays with three wins on the season.
The Real Stuff
The Bluejays have spent a good amount of time this preseason practicing outside, thanks to beautiful weather and a mild winter. The Jays played the opening weekend on a field with turf infield and grass outfield. They then played on all grass in the lone game played at Portland, but made the switch back to a combination field when playing at Lower Columbia College for the final game against the Pilots (switched due to rain). TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, the home of the Bluejays, is a completely natural field.
Keeping Our Bags Packed
Even though the weather in Omaha has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures making it into the 60’s on some days and the snow off the field, Creighton opened up the 2012 season with 13 straight road games. The Bluejays spent time in Arkansas, Oregon, and a week in California, traveling 8,629 miles.
Omaha to Conway, Ark. and back 1160 mi.
Omaha to Portland Ore. and back 2732 mi.
Portland, Ore. to Longmont, Wash. and back 96 mi.
Omaha to Sacramento, Calif. 2688 mi.
Sacramento, Calif. to Berkeley, Calif. and back 156 mi.
Sacramento, Calif. to Stockton, Calif. 48 mi.
Stockton, Calif. to San Francisco, Calif. 83 mi.
San Francisco, Calif. to Omaha 1666 mi.
The Top of the Charts
Ty Blach was tabbed the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week following the opening weekend of play, the first time in his career he has earned the award. Blach picked up the first win on the mound in 2012, striking out six batters in 5.0 innings of work on Friday, Feb. 17.
Give Us Another
Reese McGraw was named the MVC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 28, after the second weekend of play. McGraw made a pair of appearances on the weekend at UC Davis, each one a scoreless affair on the mound. The right-hander picked up his first save of the season in the 7-6 win on Friday, tossing 2.0 scoreless, hitless innings in relief. He struck out a pair of batters and faced just the minumum in his two innings. In the win on Sunday, McGraw threw another 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball, surrendering just two hits and striking out one to pick up his second win of the season (2-1).
It’s Was Good to be Back
A Creighton baseball team hasn’t made a trip to California since 2000, when the Bluejays took part in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic held at Fresno State. In the final year of participation, the Bluejays went 5-1, with wins over Bowling Green (4-1), Temple (15-0), Fresno State (12-3), Gonzaga (11-2), and UNC-Asheville (5-3), before dropping the final game to host Fresno State 5-1.
The Bluejays finished the Spring Break Trip to California 4-4, taking two-of-three in both weekend series, but falling in the two midweek games at California and Sacramento State.
Not Getting Overtime
The opening game between the Bluejays and Pilots on Friday, February 24, was on pace to be one of the quickest games in the last three seasons for the Bluejays, as Ty Blach and Kyle Kraus were at the seventh inning stretch just 1:17 into the game. It helped that Blach threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters he faced. Below are the five fastest recorded games in the last three seasons for the Jays:
Date Opponent Pitcher of Record Time
3/19/11 vs Valparaiso Jonas Dufek 1:25
5/6/11 at Wichita State Ty Blach 1:36
6/3/11 vs Georgia Jonas Dufek 1:50
4/27/10 Air Force Jack VanLeur 1:54
4/25/10 at Missouri State Ty Blach 1:57
Clearing the Bullpen
Creighton used seven pitchers in the two games at Portland (Feb. 24-26), tossing five different Jays in the rain-delayed second game. On the opening weekend, the Jays used 10 different pitchers in the three games, none tossing more than 5.0 innings. Below shows the innings pitched per player over the first weekend.
Ty Blach 8.0 1.12
Brandon Koenigstein 3.1 8.10
Chase Webb 2.1 0.00
Reese McGraw 1.2 5.40
Kurt Spomer 1.0 9.00
Nick Musec 0.2 0.00
Mark Winkelman 0.2 27.00
Walk This Way
Chance Ross has been the leadoff batter for the Bluejays in 40 games, and has done a good job at getting himself on base. The senior third baseman is second on the team with 25 walks on the season and reached with a hit by pitch 11 times. He holds a .400 on-base percentage, which also leads the team.
In comparison, Ross had 13 total walks last season.
Switching it Up
Creighton used three different defensive starting lineups on opening weekend, as Ed Servais looks to find the perfect combination. Brad McKewon, Anthony Bemboom and Erik Mattingly all saw time in left field, while Michael Mutcheson and Jake Peter were each in at second base. Bemboom and Scott Thornburg split catching duties through the weekend.
Ed Servais became the winningest coach in program history last season, surpassing both Jim Hendry and Jack Dahm to post a 320-190 overall record at the helm of the Jays. He now is in the top-20 in winning percentage among active head coaches, holding a .628 overall record. Servais was also named the MVC Coach of the Year, picking up the honor for the fourth time in his first eight years at Creighton.
Offseason Pays Off
Nick Judkins was named to the All-Star team of the Northwoods League this summer, Judkins hit .309 with a .414 on-base percentage for the Mankato MoonDogs and has continued his success at the start of this season.
Judkins finished the opening weekend 4-for-12 (.333) from the plate, scoring three runs and driving in three. His two-run home run put the Bluejays on the board first in the final game of the series, the first round-tripper of the season for the Jays. Judkins added a double and finished with a .667 slugging percentage to add to his .429 on-base percentage. Judkins was one of three Bluejays with a stolen base on the opening weekend. The senior also played flawless defense, error-free in 31 chances at first base.
New Kids On The Block
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, Feb. 19 at Central Arkansas, finishing 1-2 from the plate, while playing second base. Peter drove in a run and picked up his first collegiate base hit in the same at-bat. Alex Staehely, who has made the switch to second base, also started at second base as a true freshman.
Making his first appearance for the Bluejays on opening weekend was Shane Liska. The graduate student and transfer from Duke tossed 0.2 inning in the Sunday, Feb. 19 game, striking out one and hitting a batter.
Replacing Trever Adams in right field, Brennan Murphy started every game on the weekend, finishing 4-for-12 with an RBI and two runs scored. He also finished 2-for-2 on the basepaths to pace the Jays on the first weekend
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
Nick Judkins needed just three games to send out Creighton’s first home run of the season, lining a two-run shot over the right field fence in the 5-1 win over Central Arkansas on Feb. 19. Creighton didn’t have a home run until the seventh game of the season last year, when Anthony Bemboom drove out a three-run shot in the seventh inning at New Mexico on Feb. 26.