CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - A strong showing on the mound led the Creighton
Baseball team to a 4-2 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in the Jays' opening
game of the Riverview Inn Classic on Friday, March 8.
The victory lifted Creighton to 5-2 on the season, while Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) fell to 9-5 overall.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, the Bluejays responded with two runs in the bottom of the third. Senior Jordan Makovicka was hit by a pitch to open the Jays' frame. He moved up two bases on wild pitches and scored on a two-out single up the middle by junior Federico Castagnini. The next batter, sophomore Jake Peter, reached on an infield single and Castagnini took third on an errant throw. Finally junior Mike Gerber laced an RBI double to right to drive home Castagnini and give Creighton a 2-1 edge.
UALR squared the game at 2-2 on two hits in the top of the fourth, but Creighton came right back in its next trip to the plate. Freshman Reagan Fowler opened the Bluejay fourth with a single up the middle, moved to second on a sacrifice by senior Brennan Murphy. Makovicka sent Fowler to third on a double to center. Finally sophomore Kevin Lamb drove in Fowler with a sacrifice fly.
The Jays added some insurance in the fifth as Fowler plated Castagnini with a bases loaded sacrifice fly to left center.
The two run cushion proved to be more than enough for the Bluejay bullpen as freshman Nick Highberger and senior Mark Winkelmann allowed just one hit over the final four innings to secure a Jays' win.
Freshman Tommy Strunc moved to 2-0 on the season, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in five innings. He also recorded a season-best eight strikeouts. Winkelman retired the final five hitters to record his first save of the season.
Arkansas-Little Rock's Chance Cleveland fell to 2-2, surrendering four runs (three earned) on six hits in 4.1 innings.
Creighton returns to the diamond on Saturday, March 9 as the Jays battle tournament host, Austin Peay, at 3:30 p.m.