CINCINNATI, Ohio - Behind an 83 pitch complete game from senior Bryan Sova, the Creighton baseball team defeated Xavier 7-2 on Friday, May 16. The win moves Creighton within one win of the BIG EAST Championship.
Creighton is now 29-16-1 on the season and moved to 13-4 in BIG EAST play, while Xavier fell to 26-25 overall and 8-9 in conference play.
Making his first career starter, Sova was simply dominant on the hill for the Bluejays. The Creighton closer entered Friday's game with career-highs of 5.2 innings and 82 pitches, on Friday he topped both.
Creighton got on the board first in the top of the second as senior Mike Gerber was hit by a pitch, then sophomore Reagan Fowler lifted a double into left field to put runners at second and third. With one out freshman Nicky Lopez plated Gerber via an RBI grounder to short.
Xavier pulled even with a run in the fourth, but Creighton quickly reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth. Lopez ldoubled to right-center to open the frame and scored on a two-out single to right by sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald.
The Musketeers appeared poised to tie the game or even take the lead with runners at second and third with just one out in the bottom of the fifth. A failed suicide squeeze, however, resulted in Mitch Elliott getting caught trying to steal home for the second out. Sova worked out of the jam by inducing a fly out to right.
The Bluejays capitalized on additional Xavier miscues in the seventh, plating three runs. With one down in the inning junior Landon Lucansky was hit by a pitch. Senior Cody Kottich followed with a single to right. Lucansky scampered to third and scored an errant throw from the right fielder. Kottich alerted took advanced to third himself and scored a throwing error by Xavier catcher, Daniel Rizzie.
Already ahead 4-1, Creighton continued to add to its lead in the seventh on back-to-back doubles from senior Brad McKewon and Fitzgerald taking a 5-1 lead.
Xavier got a run back in its half of the seventh on solo home run to left by Patrick Jones, but that was the end of the Musketeers threats for the day.
Lucansky put the game away with a two-run blast over the left field wall in the eighth to give the Bluejays a 7-2 edge.
Sova set Xavier down in order in each of the last two innings, to earn his fifth win (5-1) of the season. Musketeer hurler, Eric Stiene, took the loss despite allowing just two runs on three hits in five innings of work.
Fowler and Fitzgerald led the Creighton offense with two hits each, while Fitzgerald and Lucansky each posted two RBI.
The Bluejays and Musketeers wrap up the regular season on Saturday, May 16 at 11 am (CT).
NOTES: Both other BIG EAST games scheduled for Friday were postponed by rain. Saturday's BIG EAST contests will all have meaning as none of the seeds in the BIG EAST Touranment are set. Creighton would be the #1 seed with a win or a loss by St. John's in either game with Seton Hall. St. John's can be the #1 seed with two wins and a loss by Creighton. The Red Storm would fall to the #3 seed if Seton Hall sweeps the doubleheader on Saturday. Seton Hall would be the #2 seed with a sweep, any other result places the Pirates as the #3 seed. Xavier needs a win or a loss by Butler in either game of its doubleheader with Villanova. If the Bulldogs sweep Villanova and Creighton defeats Xavier, Butler would be the #4 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.