Creighton Baseball - Updated
Creighton (24-28) vs. Illinois State (32-18)/Evansville (32-26) Winner
Game 3 – Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Bracket A Semifinal
May 24, 2012
Creighton advances to the Bracket A semifinal game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament following an 11-5 power win over No. 4 Illinois State. The Bluejays tied a season-high with 16 hits, led by Mike Gerber’s 4-5 day from the plate, pushing across three runs and scoring a pair of his own. Shane Liska was dominant on the mound for Creighton in the win, tying his career-high with 6.0 innings of work, striking out six in his second win of the season.
The Bluejays start the MVC Tournament 2-0 for the first time since the 2009 season. Creighton has started the MVC Tournament 2-0 four different times under Ed Servais, accomplishing it in 2005, 2007, 2009 and now in 2012. The Jays started last year 1-1 and had to battle back through the losers bracket to win the schools second MVC Tournament title (also in 2007).
A Game Against the
Creighton and Illinois State split the two games of a double header earlier this season, forced to play the two games on Saturday after Friday night was rained out and Sunday was canceled due to weather conditions. The Bluejays won the opener 6-5 in 15-innings, using a Nick Judkins RBI single in the top of the 15th inning. The game featured a pair of unlikely heroes, as Michael Blatchford started the frame with a single and hobbled down the line (picking up his first pinch hit since having meniscus surgery) and then put in Sunday starting pitcher Shane Liska to run the bases. Liska eventually scored on Judkins single.
In game two, the Redbirds put together 12 hits and scored a pair of runs in the first two innings off Bluejay starter Erik Mattingly to take the early lead. Creighton evened the game 2-2 in the third and fourth innings, before putting up five more runs off the Bluejay bullpen. Today’s starting pitcher for the Redbirds, Dylan Craig, threw a complete game in the 7-2 win for ISU.
With the win on Tuesday, the Bluejays hold a 70-34 overall lead in the 114 games between Creighton and Illinois State. Ed Servais is now 20-7 against the Redbirds.
Should the Purple
Creighton and Evansville have met up on the baseball field 65 times in the history of the two programs, with the first meeting coming in 1993. The Jays took that game 4-3 and hold a 40-25 lead over the Purple Aces. Creighton leads one run games 10-5 and put together a six-game winning streak prior to dropping the series finale 10-1 in Evansville last season.
Earlier this season, Evansville took two of three games from the Bluejays in the series in Omaha. The Purple Aces won the Friday night game 8-4, roughing up starting pitcher Ty Blach for four earned runs in 6.0 innings, closing out the game with four runs (just one earned) off Reese McGraw in the top of the ninth inning. Creighton won game two 3-2 in 10-innings with a Nick Judkins RBI single in the 10th. Starting pitcher Erik Mattingly surrendered the two runs, with Evansville putting up the first two runs of the game. In the final game of the weekend, Evansville’s Kyle Freeland threw a 9.0 inning complete game shutout, surrendering just three hits against the Jays.
In the Tournament
Creighton now holds a 7-1 record over Illinois State in the MVC Tournament, winning the last two straight games against the Redbirds, including the win yesterday. The Bluejays have outscored Illinois State 75-32 in the seven tournament meetings between the two teams, with four one-run games (CU leads 3-1 in those).
Against the Purple Aces, Creighton trails 2-3 in the Valley Tournament. The two teams haven’t played in the tournament since a 6-0 Creighton win in the 2005 tournament. All three of the Purple Aces wins have knocked the Bluejays out of the tournament, with wins in 1998, 2000 and 2004. Creighton’s other win came in 1999, when the Jays opened the tournament with a 12-4 win over UE.
Meet Today’s Bluejay Starter
* Erik Mattingly holds a 3.02 ERA in 15 appearances this season, 10 starts on the mound for the Bluejays. Since moving into the starting rotation on March 24, Mattingly holds a 3.28 ERA, holding opponents to a .247 average.
* Mattingly may best be recognized for throwing 9.0 complete, no-hit innings in the Saturday game against Indiana State (April 7), but earning no decision as the Bluejays could not put up a run offensively. The Jays lost 2-0 in 12-innings in that game.
* In his start against Evansville earlier this season, March 31, Mattingly tossed 5.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out a pair of batters. The Bluejays won the game 3-2, but Mattingly did not earn a decision.
* In Mattingly’s start against Illinois State, April 28, the right hander went 6.0 innings, surrendering three earned runs on six hits while allowing four walks.
* Mattingly has put up five outings of scoreless baseball, three of the five coming as a reliever (1.0 innings against Sacramento State on March 7, 3.0 innings against BYU on March 13 and 1.0 against North Dakota on March 17). His other two have come as a starter – 9.0 innings against Indiana State on April 7 and 1.0 innings against Nebraska-Omaha on May 9.
While in Springfield
Creighton has now won the opening game all three tournaments they have played in Springfield. The Jays won the opener in 2004 (also defeating Indiana State) before dropping the next two games, and won the opener in 2007 en route to the programs first MVC Tournament title. Overall, the Bluejays are 7-3 in tournament games played in Springfield, Mo.
Creighton is now 8-1 in opening round games under Ed Servais and 16-14 all-time in MVC Tournament openers. The Bluejays hold a 23-13 overall record under Servais in the Valley Tournament. With the Bluejay win in the opener, the Jays are guaranteed not to go 0-2 in the tournament. Creighton has never gone two and out in the MVC Tournament under Servais.
The Bluejays outhit the Sycamores 10-1 in the first round win on Tuesday and turned around to put up 16 hits (tying a season high) against Illinois State on Wednesday. It now marks the fourth time in the last five games the Bluejays have picked up double-digit hits in a game. They have accomplished that feat 18 times this season.
Lights Out Lefties
The Bluejay starting lineup has been mixed between left and right handed batters all season, but Wednesday against the Redbirds the lefties led the way. Nick Judkins, Anthony Bemboom, Mike Gerber, Jake Peter and Brennan Murphy combined for 12 of Creighton’s 16 hits on the day for the Jays. Overall, the lefties were 12-21 from the plate on Wednesday, with a double, a triple and a home run.
In the tournament, 17 of Creighton’s 26 hits have come from batters on the left side of the plate.
More than You
Creighton is 17-4 when out-hitting its opponent this season, and 15-3 when owning 10 hits or more in a game. CU’s 16 hits yesterday tied a season-high, also done vs. Nebraska (5/8) and vs. North Dakota (3/17).
Get ‘Em On, Get ‘Em Over,
Get ‘Em In
One key for any team is to get the leadoff hitter on base. Creighton has had its leadoff man reach in 7-of-17 innings this week, with five of those men coming around to score.
How’s This, For Starters?
Creighton’s starting pitching has thrown well in the past 11 games, allowing just 12 runs and owning a 1.91 ERA in 56.2 frames of those starts. CU’s starters have allowed no earned runs in six of those contests, and just one run in two other games.
Creighton’s bullpen has thrown just 53 pitches this week in Springfield, and no
reliever has thrown more than one inning. Helping to keep CU’s bullpen away has
been strong performances by starters Ty
Blach and Shane Liska, both of
whom tied their longest career appearance in the past two days.
Mattingly The Hero Again?
Creighton pitcher Erik Mattingly takes the field on Thursday with a chance to secure his team a shot at a second straight league tournament title game.
One year ago, CU’s fate lied in the hands of Mattingly in a far different capacity, as he had pitched in just two of CU’s first 56 games before getting the desperation call to start the 11th inning of CU’s bracket final vs. Missouri State. Mattingly threw two scoreless innings, pitching around three walks, and earned the win when teammate Anthony Bemboom scored on a wild pitch from MSU’s all-Valley reliever, Dan Kickham.
Boom Boom Bemboom
Anthony Bemboom owns three triples in Creighton’s last 11 games, giving him a team-best four three-baggers this season. The last Bluejay with more than four triples in a season was Andrew Small in 2007. It was Small who had the walk-off hit in the 12th inning that helped Creighton claim the 2007 MVC Tournament title at Hammons Field in Springfield.
Playing With A Lead
Creighton is 20-9 this year when scoring first, compared to a 4-19 mark when the opposition scores first. Creighton has drawn first blood in each of its two MVC Tournament games this year, and won its last five Valley Tourney games when scoring first.
Captain Long Ball
Mike Gerber hit the first home run in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history last year, and is currently leading the Jays with four homers this spring after yesterday’s high-arching round-tripper. The last Bluejay sophomore before Gerber to lead CU in round-trippers was Darin Ruf (8) in 2007, the same year the Jays won the MVC Tournament in Springfield.
The Drought is Over
The Bluejays hit a pair of home runs in the 11-5 win over Illinois State on Wednesday, the third time this season they have hit multiple home runs in a single game – also against North Dakota (3/17) and Southern Illinois (4/22). Mike Gerber hit his team-leading fourth home run in the third inning and Chance Ross drove out a three-run shot in the seventh.
The home runs mark the first for the Bluejays since May 5 when Chance Ross led off the game at Bradley with a solo home run. Gerber hit his first home run in over a month, as his last one came at SIU (4/22).
Against the Southpaw
Creighton has struggled against the left handed pitchers this season, but seeing them in the first two games of the MVC Tournament you would never guess it. The Bluejays are now 8-12 against left handed starters this season, putting up 12 combined runs in the last two days on the starting pitchers.
Ed Servais Baseball
Creighton successfully dropped three sacrifice bunts in the win on Wednesday, all three which advanced runners to second base. All three runners eventually came around to score. Ed Servais’ teams have ranked among the best in the nation in sacrifice bunts since he has been at the helm of Bluejay baseball. The team has 69 this season, led by Alex Staehely’s 11 and Anthony Bemboom’s 10.
Entering the 2012 tournament, Creighton had thrown 4 shutouts all-time in MVC Tournament play. Each time CU threw a shutout, it would go on to reach the MVC Tournament championship game. Ty Blach opened the 2012 tournament with a 5-0 shutout win over No. 1 seed Indiana State.
2005 - CU 6, UE 0 (Wordekemper 5 H in 7 IP, Reese 2 IP)
2007* - CU 2, BU 0 (Moore 2 H in 8 IP, Masten 1 IP)
2009 - Cu 11, WSU 0 (Koenigstein no-hitter)
2011* - CU 5, SIU 0 (Hellhake 2-hitter)
2012 – CU 5, ISU 0 (Blach 1-hitter)
*won tournament title
Creighton became the fourth team in MVC Tournament history in Tuesday’s win to allow zero or one hit in a game, joining Southern Illinois (1977), Missouri State (2002) and Creighton (2009). Each of those first three teams played in the MVC Tournament final.
On the Staff
The Creighton pitching staff came into the 2012 season full of expectations and highly touted. With a number of bullpen arms back as well as starting pitcher Ty Blach, the staff holds a 3.40 combined ERA. In addition to Blach’s complete game, one-hitter against Indiana State yesterday, the staff also has Brandon Koenigstein who threw a no-hitter against Wichita State in 2009 and Erik Mattingly who started the game against Indiana State earlier this season with 9.0 innings of no-hit baseball.
Meet the Players
* Chance Ross’ 8th inning home run yesterday extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest of his Bluejay career. He's now hitting .294 this year, and is hitting .366 during his hitting streak with 11 RBI, driving in three runs during each of CU’s first two games of the Tournament.
* Ross leads the Bluejays in the last 10 games with a .512 slugging percentage, picking up 21 bases (five more than the next closest Jay) in his 41 at bats.
* Brad McKewon has an 11-game hitting streak entering Thursday, CU's longest hitting streak of the season by any player, and the longest of his Bluejay career. McKewon is hitting .381 during his hitting streak, going 16-for-42. The last player to put together a streak of longer than 11-games was Trever Adams, with his 18-game streak last season.
* Nick Judkins is 4-for-7 in the MVC Tournament, an improvement that coincided with him returning to the No. 2 spot in the line-up for the first time since April 13th. CU is now 6-2 when he bats second in the order this year, and was 41-15 with him hitting second last year, when he tied a Creighton and MVC record with 22 sacrifice bunts.
* Brennan Murphy has been one of Creighton's top hitters as of late, hitting .500 in his last seven games. He has reached base safely in eight straight games, his career-high, and is 4-for-7 at the MVC Tournament so far.
* Alex Staehely has had one sacrifice bunt in each of CU’s first two games this week. It was his 35th and 36th career sacrifice bunts, second-most in MVC history behind former Bluejay Vince Pietro.
* Mike Gerber had three RBI in the win on Wednesday, marking the second time this season he has driven in three in a single game (also against South Dakota State 4/15). He leads all Bluejays with 10 multi-RBI games this season.
* The 4-5 day from the plate Wednesday for Mike Gerber also gave him his first four-hit game of his career, as he had previously had three hits in a game four different times, most recently against Nebraska on May 8, 2012.
Moving on Up Creighton is currently hitting .245 as a team, its highest mark since March 25th. The Jays are hitting .304 in their last 11 games with 19 sacrifice bunts and just four double plays in that span.
Pitching on Top
Creighton owns a 2.91 ERA in its last 11 games, outscoring teams 54-36 in those
contests. CU’s 3.41 overall ERA is better than the team’s 3.42 ERA after 52
games a season ago, at which point the Jays were a sparkling 39-13.
No Muffed Balls
Creighton has played three straight errorless games for the first time all season. Creighton had two streaks of error-free baseball last season, putting together four-straight games from April 2-April 8 and then three-straight to close out the MVC Tournament and open NCAA play (May 27-June 3).
Creighton went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday vs. Illinois State after going 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday vs. Indiana State. Those six hits
match its most hits with RISP since going 6-for-17 vs. North Dakota on March 17. Creighton is 9-0 this year when it has at least six hits with runners in scoring position, and 19-2 since the start of the 2010 season.
Push them In
After not scoring more than eight runs in any MVC game all year, and never scoring more than 12 runs in any MVC series all year, Creighton’s offense exploded for 11 runs yesterday. Creighton improved to 5-0 this year when scoring in double-digits, and has won 20 straight (since 3/7/10) when scoring in double-figures. Creighton is now 17-4 when scoring five or more runs this year, and 21-6 when scoring four or more runs this year.