OMAHA, Neb. - While it may have taken the Bluejays a while to wake up their bats on Sunday, they needed just three innings to put up 16 unanswered runs and defeat Bradley 16-6. The Jays (31-10, 9-3) picked up 12 hits on the day, led by Michael Mutcheson and Jimmy Swift with three apiece, while the Braves (20-22, 2-10) finished the day with 10. Creighton maintains sole possession of first place in the MVC and have now matched the best start by a Bluejay team in Creighton history, matching the 2005 and 1991 teams with 31 wins in their first 41 games.
The Braves scored first for the first time in the series, putting up a single run in the top of the second off Bluejay starter Greg Hellhake. After getting out of a jam in the first in which the Braves put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles, Hellhake gave up an inning leading single to Greg Partyka, Bradley's third hit of the game. Partyka was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Martin and then moved to third on a wild pitch. James Kottaras plated the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to the warning track.
Bradley then put together five runs in the fourth, just three of which were earned. With one out, Jerrod Eigsti singled and advanced to second on a failed pick off attemt. A double by Partyka and triple by Brian Martin put the Braves up 3-0 early. Creighton then put in Jack VanLeur to pitch, who gave up two runs, neither of which was earned. After three more back-to-back-to-back singles, the Braves controlled the game with a 6-0 lead after three and a half innings of play.
Creighton's bats continued to struggle against Bradley starter Jon Nasshan. The Jays were retired three-up, three-down through the first three innings and didn't pick up a hit until Trever Adams' single in the fourth. Creighton did put two runners on base in the fourth and picked up their first runs of the game in the fifth. In the fourth, Nick Judkins picked up a one out walk to become the first baserunner for the Jays, advancing to second on Adams' single. An inning ending strikeout ended the threat in threat in the fourth.
In the fifth, Creighton picked up four runs on two hits, all with two outs. Scott Thornburg picked up a two out walk and advanced to second when Joey Bowens was hit by pitch for eighth time this season. A single into left field by Michael Mutcheson plated Thornberg and then Judkins loaded the bases with the second walk of the inning. Swift then ripped a bases-clearing double into the left field corner, pumping his fist as he got to second base. The Bluejays had pulled the game within two, trailing 6-4 after five.
The Bluejays took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth and never looked back. The Jays used just two hits in the frame to score four runs, all on two outs again. Staehely was hit by pitch to lead off the inning, followed by a strike out and fly out. A single through the right side by Thornburg scored Staehely. Bowens picked up his second free base of the game, walking to put runners on first and second before a wild pitch moved them both up a base. Mutcheson then put a ball into the Creighton bullpen, his first homerun as a Bluejay. The four run sixth gave Creighton the 8-6 lead.
Creighton's pitching staff dominated the Braves after the fourth inning, shutting down BU in order in the fifth, sixth and allowing just one single in the seventh. Reese McGraw matched his longest outing of the season, going 3.1 innings on the mound, giving up just one hit and striking out five. He earned his fifth win of the season, improving to 5-1 as a Bluejay.
Creighton ended the game in the bottom of the eighth by virtue of the run rule. Swift led off the inning with his second double of the game. A walk and hit by pitch by Adams and Staehely loaded the bases. Bemboom ripped a shot that almost cleared the right field fence, hitting just below the yellow line. It would have been the first grand slam for the Jays this season, but instead scored just one run. A single by Ross and fielders choice by Thornburg kept the bases loaded.
The inning continued with Mutcheson picking up his third hit of the afternoon, a double to the left center field fence. Two more back-to-back doubles by Judkins and Swift (his second of the inning), put the Jays up 15-6 with two outs in the seventh. Adams then stood in and picked up his first RBI of the day, driving in Swift with the game-ending run.
Creighton will have the week off as they take their finals and then travel to Wichita State for the three-game weekend series.
Quick Hits: The six-run comeback for the Jays matches the largest deficit overcome this season. Creighton trailed at New Mexico 6-0 before winning 8-7 in 11 innings... Jimmy Swift went 3-for-5 on the day, with three doubles including two in the seventh inning. The three doubles is his career high... Creighton maintains sole possession of first place in the MVC with the win... The 9-3 start in conference play by the Jays marks the third time the Jays have opened that way under Ed Servais. The 1991 CWS team also opened Valley play 9-3, although they played four-game series and not three-game series like today... The Bluejays put together 39 hits in the three games, with 14 Friday night, 13 Saturday night and 12 today. Trever Adams led the way with nine hits on the weekend, including a 4-for-4 day on Friday night... Adams has now reached base safely in 25 consecutive games this season... 11 of Creighton's runs on Sunday came with 2-outs.