OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton Baseball earned its 30th win of the year and No. 3 seed in next week's MVC Tournament with a 6-3 victory over Missouri State on Saturday, May 18 in the Jays' final regular-season contest in the league (MVC) its called home since 1978.
Creighton (30-16, 13-8 MVC) will open Valley Tournament play on Tuesday, May 21 with Indiana State (24-23, 9-11 MVC) at 9 a.m. Missouri State (30-21, 12-9 MVC) fell to the No. 4 seed and will open with Evansville (22-32, 10-10 MVC) in next week's tournament.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, Creighton tied it in the home half of the second inning. Sophomore Kevin Lamb doubled with one out and came around to score on junior Ben Lahn's single to right. MSU quickly answered, with Luke Voit delivering his second two-out RBI in the first three innings to return the lead to the Bears, 2-1 in the top of the third.
Creighton, however, claimed the lead with three runs without the benefit of a hit in the third inning. Junior Federico Castagnini and sophomore Jake Peter reached via walk to open the frame. Senior Alex Staehely followed with a bunt back to the pitcher was handled by MSU starter Andy Cheray, but Cheray's throw was wild, allowing both runners to score and Staehely to chug to second base. Staehely would later score on a sac fly from Lamb to make it 4-2.
Missouri State threatened in the top of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles to chase freshman Matt Warren with no outs. Fellow freshman Nick Highberger escaped the jam with the lead, allowing only one man to score on a wild pitch to preserve the 4-3 advantage.
Creighton immediately answered, adding some important insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The inning began with a walk by Lahn before freshman Ryan Fitzgerald's pinch-hit single and a fielder’s choice on junior Brad McKewon's bunt that saw lead runner Lahn beat the throw at third to load the bases. After a double play ball erased Lahn, Peter doubled to left-center, plating both men, for the game's final scoring.
Missouri State would strand a man in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings as freshman Taylor Elman and junior Bryan Sova nailed down the final nine outs as part of a bullpen effort that saw Creighton relievers allow just one run in seven innings on the day.
Warren improved to 3-3 with three innings of one-run ball, while Sova claimed his fourth save of the season. Creighton's offense was paced by two hits each from Peter and freshman Reagan Fowler.
Missouri State got three hits from Voit, as well as both RBI, on the day. Cheray (1-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (one earned) in two-plus innings.
NOTES: The crowd of 2,961 moved Creighton's season average to 4,041 fans per home game, a figure that should rank 10th nationally ...Senior Mark Winkelman made his Valley-record 129th career appearance, but just his third start ...Creighton opened last year's MVC Tournament title run with a victory over Indiana State and ace lefty Sean Manaea.
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