JONESBORO, Ark. - The Creighton baseball team added two more wins to its early season total, improving its record to 9-1, sweeping a double header with Arkansas State (4-8). The Jays scored 11 runs in the two games, and were led offensively by Alex Staehely (four hits on the day) and Trever Adams (blasting a solo home run to dead center field), while getting solid pitching performances by both starting pitchers Ty Blach and Jonas Dufek.
Creighton 5, Arkansas State 2
The Creighton offense came out swinging and put the first runs on the board in the top of the 2nd. Alex Staehely started the inning off with a single down the left field line. After Scott Thornburg popped up to the right fielder, Erik Mattingly executed a perfect hit-and-run, knocking a single through the hole left by Red Wolves shortstop who was covering second. Staehely advanced to third. The Jays got on the board when Chance Ross hit into what looked like a double play ball, but beat out the throw down the line.
Creighton scored again in the top of the third inning, putting up two runs on just one hit but four defensive errors by the Red Wolves. Mike Gerber led off the inning with an eight pitch walk, and advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt by the pitcher. Michael Mutcheson then beat out an infield bunt. Gerber advanced to second and then scored after a rushed throw by the ASU pitcher allowed Gerber to score. The Jays then tried another bunt, this time by Nick Judkins, and he also reached on an error by the pitcher. Jimmy Swift knocked in Mutcheson on a deep sacrifice fly to center, giving Creighton a 3-0 lead after three.
Ty Blach got out of a couple early jams in the game, as the Red Wolves stranded runners on third base in both the first and second innings. In the first, Blach found himself with the bases loaded after walking one batter, giving up a hit and hitting another batter. Blach then struck out the last batter of the inning to leave the bases loaded.
Blach battled in the bottom of second as well. After giving up a lead-off double, Blach overthrew Staehely on a pick-off attempt, allowing Johnson to move to third. The Creighton sophomore dug deep, striking out the next batter and forcing a fly-out to center to end the inning.
The two teams exchanged a scoreless fourth inning before Creighton again put up two runs in the top of the fifth. Mutcheson singled through the left side for his second hit of the day and was advanced to third base on a hit and run by Judkins. Judkins advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After a Swift strikeout, Trever Adams singled to right field and knocked in Mutcheson and moved Judkins to third. The Jays got a little more help from an ASU error, when Adams stole second and then both runners advanced on a throwing error.
Blach continued to pitch solidly on the mound, not giving up a run until the bottom of the fifth. After striking out the lead batter, Castaldo doubled to left center. A ground out to short advanced Castaldo to third. The first run surrendered came after a two out double to left field by Emery scored Castaldo. The Jays led 5-1. The Red Wolves added another run in the bottom of the sixth, knocking in a single run after a triple and infield ground out. It would be the last run the Red Wolves would get in game one, bringing the score to 5-2.
The Jays were held scoreless through the rest of the game. Blach finished the day with 7.0 innings pitched, six hits given up, two runs (both earned) while striking out seven, which ties his career high. Kurt Spomer came in for relief in the bottom of the eighth inning, retiring the Red Wolves in order in the eighth. Reese McGraw made his seventh appearance of the season, coming in to finish off the game by striking out one and walking one, but not allowing a hit or run in his inning of work.
Creighton finished game one with eight hits and five runs scored, led by Mutcheson and Staehely with two hits each. The Jays had eight team strikeouts on the day while walking just three times. The Bluejay pitchers combined for seven strikeouts in game one, hitting one batter and walking four.
Creighton 6, Arkansas State 0
The Jays continued in game two at the same place they left off in game one offensively, and had an outstanding performance by Jonas Dufek on the mound, earning a 6-0 victory over the Red Wolves. Creighton put up runs in the top of the second and third innings to build an early lead and never looked back. Trever Adams led off the second inning with an infield hit off a bunt that he hustled out. He then stole second base and was advanced to third on an Erik Mattingly sacrifice bunt. Adams then scooted across the plate on a wild pitch, giving Creighton its first run of game two. The Jays left two runners on base in the inning, earning a walk and a hit by pitch but striking out and hitting a pop fly to end the threat.
Creighton took advantage of the first batter reaching base again in the third inning, when Nick Judkins sent a single through the right side on an 0-2 count. Alex Staehely then sacrificed Judkins to second base before Jimmy Swift ripped a ball traight back up the middle, almost clipping ASU pitcher Daniel Wright. While the Jays extended their lead to 2-0, Creighton again left a runner on base.
The Creighton defense, behind senior Jonas Dufek on the mound, gave up just two hits through the first four innings, allowing just two batter free passes through four. Dufek forced six ground outs and three fly outs while striking out three in the first four innings of play. Dufek continued his power on the mound through the seventh inning, not allowing a run in his longest outing of the season. The senior right hander finished the game with just three hits, three walks and four strikeouts, facing 27 batters.
Another multi-run inning, highlighted by Trever Adams' solo homerun to straight center, gave the Jays a commanding 5-0 lead. With one out, Staehely singled to left center. Jimmy Swift then stepped in and ripped a double to the 370 foot left center field gap, scoring Staehely. Swift advanced to third on the attempted play at the plate on Staehely. Swift scored on a balk, but would be followed by Adams' monster homerun, bouncing off the hitters eye in straight away center field. It is his first home run of the season, and 13th of his Bluejay career.
The Jays added another run in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Judkins reached on a fielding error by the shortstop. Staehely stepped in and doubled to left center field, driving in Judkins and giving Creighton a 6-0 lead. Through six innings, the Jays had six runs on seven hits, led by Staehely, Swift and Adams, each with two hits.
ASU held the Jays scoreless through the rest of the game, using a combined pitching effort from Sam Jew and Jon Glidewell to shut down the Bluejays. On the Bluejay side, Jack VanLeur came in to pitch 1.0 innings, retiring three of the four batters he faced, with just one Red Wolf batter reaching base (on a defensive error). Chase Webb came in to finish the game off for the Jays, allowing one hit in his one inning of work.
Creighton finished the game with seven hits, six of those by the two, three and four batters. Creighton drew two walks, one hit-by-pitch and struckout nine times in game two. The pitching staff threw a combined shutout, allowing four hits and walking just three batters.
Creighton and Arkansas State will play the third game of the series tomorrow at 4:00 pm in Jonesboro. The game will be available through live stats at www.gocreighton.com. The Jays will then travel to Conway, Ark., to take on Central Arkansas in a Tuesday and Wednesday series, with games set for 6:00 pm and 1:00 pm, respectively.
Quick Hits: The Jays swept a double header for the second time this season, (last week against New Mexico) and the first time since 2009... Creighton now holds a 4-2 lead over Arkansas State - the two teams were knotted with two wins a piece coming into the weekend... The Jays are now on an eight game winning streak, the longest since a 10-game streak in 2007 (May 5- May 18)... Alex Staehely has now gotten a hit in the last seven games straight, and in nine of the first ten games of the season. Staehely had a 14 game hit streak last season, leading the team... The last time Ty Blach struck out seven batters was on March 27, 2010 in a win at Southern Illinois... Trever Adams blasted the second homerun of the season for the Jays in game two Sunday - Adams had 12 homeruns in his first season with the Jays, as the team hit 53 homeruns... In his longest outing of the season, Jonas Dufek struck out four batters, his fewest in any outing of the season... The combined shutout by the pitching staff is the first since the February 20 season opener last season, a 22-0 win over SIU Edwardsville...