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Brad McKewon
Courtesy: Eric Francis

No. 25 Rebels Breeze Past CU Baseball, 3-1

OMAHA, Neb. -- No. 25 UNLV took advantage of the few opportunities it had to claim a 3-1 victory over Creighton Baseball in a rare Monday game between the schools.

UNLV improved to 20-8 to top off a 3-1 trip through Nebraska (UNLV won 2-of-3 games at Nebraska over the weekend), while Creighton fell to 12-10-1 after its third consecutive loss.

The game was moved up from a scheduled 6:30 pm start to 4 pm to avoid a cold front scheduled to move through the Omaha area on Monday night, and was played in 38 mph winds from the West.

The Bluejays scratched the scoreboard first in the third inning. Nicky Lopez singled to left and moved to third base after consecutive wild pitches from UNLV starter, Kenny Oakley, then came home on an RBI groundout by Ryan Fitzgerald.

Creighton used eight pitchers on the day and brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, only to see UNLV take advantage of an uncharacteristic defensive breakdown by the Bluejays.

The Rebels opened the inning when Bluejay catcher Kevin Lamb was unable to cleanly pick up a check-swing ball off the bat of Patrick Armstrong that dribbled 15 feet in front of the plate to make a throw to first.  Armstrong took second on a passed ball, moved to third on a groundout and would score when younger brother Joey Armstrong's check-swing back to the mound resulted in no play at any base for the first hit of the afternoon and tied the score at 1-all.

Morgan Stotts would reach on a ball misplayed in left-field as Joey Armstrong moved up 90 feet, and Edgar Montes continued the rally when his single bounced over the glove of Bluejay centerfielder Mike Gerber, allowing Joey Armstrong to take an extra base and come around to score.

The Rebels tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning when A.J. Hernandez stroked a wind-blown ball to deep right-center that dropped for a triple, plating Erik Vanmeetren.

Oakley (2-2)  worked into the ninth inning, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out nine, to earn the victory. Brayden Torres notched the final three outs for his team-best sixth save of the season.

Junior Max Ising took the tough luck loss (1-2), allowing two unearned runs in the sixth.

One bright spot on the day was the pitching of CU's first two hurlers, Jeff Albrecht and Tommy Strunc. Albrecht threw three scoreless and hitless innings, while Strunc needed just 13 pitches in the fourth inning for his first appearance since March 19th.

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Creighton returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to nearby Werner Park to take on Omaha. First pitch is slated for 6:30 pm.

NOTES: Monday marked the first time in 78 games that Brad McKewon did not lead off for the Bluejays ... Prior to Monday's contest with #25 UNLV,  Creighton's last game against a ranked opponent was May 13, 2008 vs. #6 Nebraska (L, 1-8) ... The Bluejays last win over a ranked opponent came on March 16, 2010 at #25 Kansas State (W, 7-4).

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