OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team delivered the best present to their seniors on senior day Saturday, winning the MVC Regular Season crown for the first time since 2005 with a 3-1 win over Missouri State. The win gives the Jays sole possession of first place, and the number one seed in the MVC Tournament next week. Creighton will face the Bradley Braves at 7:30 pm in the opening round of the tournament, which will be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The Bluejays got on the board first, plating a run in the second inning for the first time this weekend. The Jays scored first in all three games with Missouri State, putting up a tally first in the second, third and fourth frames over the three games. Trever Adams led off the second inning with a hit by pitch, advanced to second on a Mike Gerber walk and then scored when Chance Ross singled up the middle.
Creighton added a pair in the bottom of the fourth, using three singles in a row to plate the two runs. Scott Thornburg picked up the first of the three, a one out single up the middle. Anthony Bemboom followed with a single to centerfield, advancing to second on an error by the MSU shortstop. With runners on second and third, Gerber hit a single through the right side, thread right between the pulled in Bears defense. A ground ball, potential double play ball off Ross' bat scored the third run of the game, giving CU the 3-0 lead after four.
Greg Hellhake pitched in his longest outing in nearly a month, throwing into the fifth inning. He finished the day with 4.1 innings of work, giving up just one earned run on four hits. The fifth year senior faced just four batters in each of the first four innings before leaving with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Chase Webb came in with the bases full, walking the first batter he faced to put the Bears on the board. A ground ball double play, 6-4-3 ended the frame, with two Bears on the bases. Webb earned the win, improving to 4-1 on the year.
Missouri State's Pierce Johnson came in and shut down the Creighton offense in the second half of the game, limiting the Jays to just one hit through the last five frames. But Creighton's defense turned two more double plays, stranding Bears on the bases in the seventh and eighth frames.
Creighton relievers Jack VanLeur and Mark Winkelman both threw 1.1 innings in the game, allowing three combined hits. Reese McGraw closed things down, earning his fifth save of the season in the victory.
Quick Hits: The Bluejays swept Missouri State for the first time since 2005. It is the first time in the last six seasons the Bears haven't upset CU's chances at the MVC title and playing in June... Creighton's defense got out of binds by turning three ground ball double-plays on the day. It is the eighth time this season the defense has turned two DP's in a game, the second time they have turned three in a single game (@ New Mexico)... Trever Adams increased his reaching base streak to 36 games with his hit by pitch in the second. Adams did break his hitting streak, snapping it at 16 (two shy of his career best 18 game streak)... Creighton's RPI has jumped to 39 with the sweep this weekend, while the Missouri Valley Conference as a whole sits at seventh, the highest it has been in years. The jump in both numbers could help the Jays, should an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament be necessary... Creighton will look to win the MVC Tournament for just the second time in school history, with the last being in 2007 at Missouri State... The Jays honored eight seniors prior to the game on Saturday; Trever Adams, Vince Bellino, Joey Bowens, Clay Cuno, Jonas Dufek, Greg Hellhake, Jimmy Swift and Jack VanLeur all suited up for their final regular-season home game at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha... Creighton has now won eight straight home games.