Offensive Explosion Powers Baseball Past North Dakota
OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team brought their bats to the CU Sports Complex on Saturday, sweeping both games of a doubleheader over North Dakota. The Bluejays won the opener 12-3 before winning game two 16-3.
Creighton improves to 11-7 on the season with the two wins, sweeping the lone doubleheader on the schedule this season. The 28 runs scored are the most runs scored in a two-game series since the Jays put up 30 in back-to-back games in 2006.
Leading the charge offensively on the day was senior Anthony Bemboom. Bemboom went 5-8 (.625) from the plate, with four runs scored and four RBI. Fellow senior Nick Judkins also picked up five hits on the day (5-9, .556) to help lead the offense. Five different Bluejays hit home runs Saturday, led by Gabriel Thibodeaux's pair and Mike Gerber's grand slam.
The Jays exploded out of the gates, putting up five runs in the first inning of game one. Chance Ross reached to lead off, picking up his fifth hit-by-pitch of the season. Judkins singled through the right side before Bemboom walked to load the bases. Alex Staehely drove in his ninth RBI of the season, driving a single to through the right side to score Ross.
With the bases loaded and a 1-2 count, Gerber pulled a ball to right field, a grand slam going over the fence just under the scoreboard. A pair of fly balls ended the Jays threat in the first, up 5-0.
Starting pitcher Andrew Urban held the Fighting Sioux scoreless through the first two innings, facing just seven batters and needing 21 pitches to mow down the Fighting Sioux. UND did push across a pair of runs on one hit in the visiting half of the third inning. With a runner on first, Kris Kwak singled to left field to put a pair of runners on base.
Tyler Follis stepped into the box and ripped a ball into left center field, scoring both runners. But the Bluejays appealed the play, with Follis being called out on the play at first for missing the bag. Urban struck out Campbell to end the inning, Creighton leading 5-2.
The Bluejays combined for seven more runs in the sixth and seventh inning, using six hits combined with three Fighting Sioux errors in the two frames. The Bluejay sixth was highlighted by Brad McKewon's first triple of the season, scoring a pair of runs before Judkins singled to score McKewon.
Four runs came across in the bottom of the seventh, as Creighton pushed its lead to 10 in the frame (12-2). Gerber led off the frame with a single through the first side, advancing to second when Thibodeaux was hit by a pitch. The pair advanced to second on a wild pitch before a high fly ball off Brennan Murphy's bat landed between the second baseman, shortstop and centerfielder, scoring the first run of the inning.
McKewon ripped a ball to center, scoring Thibodeaux on a sacrifice fly before Bemboom ended Creighton's scoring in the game, pulling a single through the right side to score Ross and Murphy.
Bluejay reliever Ryan Price allowed a single run in the top of the ninth, but Shane Liska came in to face the final two batters, forcing a pop up to Judkins at first and striking out the final batter of the ballgame.
Four different Jays had a pair of hits each in the opener, as McKewon, Judkins, Gerber and Murphy combined for eight of Creighton's 11 hits in the game. Gerber's four RBI marked a single-game career high for the sophomore, while Ross' three runs scored were also a personal best.
In game two, the Bluejays pushed across at least a single run in every inning, putting up crooked numbers in five different innings. Creighton blasted four home runs in game two alone, led by two off the bat of DH Gabriel Thibodeaux. It marks the first time since 2010 the Bluejays have done that.
The Bluejays put up two runs in each of the first three innings, using six hits to push across the six runs. The home run parade started in the bottom of the first, when Bemboom knocked a solo shot over the right field fence after Judkins sacrifice fly scored Ross from third. Ross and Thibodeaux then came in to score in the second after each runner walked during their at-bats.
Starting pitcher Nick Musec picked up his third win of the season, going 5.0 innings and allowing three earned runs. The right hander struck out three batters in the game, allowing a pair of runs in the second and a single one in the fifth.
Creighton's highest run output came in the fifth inning, when they put up five runs on three hits. After Bemboom singled, Thornburg was hit by a pitch and Gerber reached on a fielder's choice. Alex Staehely then singled to center field, scoring both Bemboom and Thornburg. A three-run home run off the bat of Thibodeaux closed out the scoring in the inning.
Bemboom led the Bluejay offense in game two, going 4-4 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. Judkins had three hits, while McKewon, Staehely and Thibodeaux added two hits apiece. Both Staehely and Thibodeaux had four RBI in game two.
NOTES: Mike Gerber's first career grand slam in the first inning also marked the first Creighton grand slam since Drain Ruf's grand slam at Southern Illinois, May 3, 2008 ... Creighton hit through the lineup in two different innings of game one, both in the first and seventh innings, the first time this season they have done that twice in a game ... Ryan Price made his first appearance as a Bluejay in the first game, coming in to face a batter in the ninth inning ... Andrew Urban earned the win in game one, his first of the season ... Nick Judkins' triple in the third inning of game two is just the third of his career ... Creighton has now won the opening home series in nine of the last 10 seasons ... The Bluejays have now hit at least one triple in four straight games, one in four of the five home games this homestand ... Brad McKewon, Gabriel Thibodeaux and Petr Zyma each hit their first career home run as a Bluejay in game two on Saturday ... Anthony Bemboom had four hits in game two, coming just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. The last player to do that was Ryan Fitzgerald in 2003 ... Anthony Bemboom tied his single-game high with eight bases in the second game ... Creighton hit six home runs total in the afternoon series, doubling their total on the season (3) in one afternoon ... Nick Musec improves to 3-0 following the win on Saturday, joining Ty Blach as the only Jays with three wins on the season.