Baseball Falls, 2-1, In TD Ameritrade Park Omaha Opener

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Scott Thornburg
Courtesy: Eric Francis

OMAHA, Neb. - A crowd of 22,197 fans turned out for the opening college baseball game at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, where Nebraska defeated No. 28 Creighton by a 2-1 score.

The crowd was the ninth-largest in college baseball regular-season history, and largest-ever to see a Creighton game. It also eclipsed the previous high in 2011 of 10,076 when LSU hosted Florida on March 18 in Baton Rouge, La.

Creighton, which owns the nation's top fielding percentage in the last eight seasons, had an uncharacteristic three errors on the night, which accounted for both Nebraska runs. Instead, it was the Cornhuskers who flashed the leather on this night. 

Creighton (26-8) scored the first run in stadium history in the second inning of the new park when Trever Adams singled, moved to second on a balk, and came home on Mike Gerber's single up the middle.

Nebraska (25-14) answered with a run in the top of the third inning against CU reliever Brandon Koenigstein. Tanner Krietemeier doubled to right with one out, moved to third on a Kale Kiser groundout, and scored on an error by Bluejay third baseman Chance Ross.

The Cornhuskers took the lead in the top of the sixth inning with another unearned tally.  Kiser welcomed Bluejay reliever Mark Winkelman with a sinlge, then raced to third when Winkelman threw away Bryan Peters bunt. Reese McGraw entered with a bases-loaded, no-out situation. He coaxed Kash Kalkowski to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, but Kiser scored on the play.

Creighton had a great scoring chance go by the wayside in the bottom of the eighth. Michael Mutcheson walked and moved to second on a one-out infield single by Alex Staehely. After a Nick Judkins line-out to third, Jimmy Swift walked to load the bases for CU's top hitter, Adams. In the most dramatic moment in the new park (to date), Adams waved a Logan Ehlers 1-2 slider in the dirt, ending the threat.

In the ninth, Scott Thornburg singled with one out. Pinch-runner Joey Bowens stole second as Mike Gerber struck out on a 2-2 pitch. However, Mutcheson grounded back to Ehlers to end the night.

Creighton's Mark Winkelman (1-1) was tagged with the loss after his unearned run in the sixth proved to be the decisive margin. Nebraska City, Neb., native, Ehlers (1-1) earned his first career win as a collegian, throwing the final 5.1 frames. Ehlers allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five in his 92-pitch effort.

Adams had two of Creighton's six hits, going 2-for-4 to improve his batting average to an even .400. The Jays threw eight pitchers on the evening, none throwing more than two innings or 34 pitches.

NOTES: Creighton's Trever Adams extended his hit streak to 18 with a single to lead off the second inning. He now has a hit in 28 of his last 29 games ... Ty Blach threw the first pitch in the new stadium, a ball that Kale Kiser flew out on to right field on the play ... Nebraska's Cody Asche had the first hit, a single, and Trever Adams scored the first run on Mike Gerber's single in the second inning.

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