LINCOLN, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team doubled its season output of runs in the 9th inning, rallying to put up a pair of runs on Nebraska's bullpen in the final frame, but two runs wouldn't be enough as the Bluejays fell 5-3 to Nebraska on Tuesday night. The Huskers have now won the series opener in eight of the last 10 seasons, with seven of the 10 games being played in Lincoln.
The loss drops the Bluejays to 13-15 on the season, while Nebraska improves to 23-12.
After Nick Judkins walked to lead off the ninth inning, the Huskers brought in Travis Huber to pitch. Scott Thornburg then singled up the middle, putting a pair of runners on first and second. Anthony Bemboom then picked up the only extra-base hit of the night for the Jays, doubling to right center field and driving in both runners.
Alex Staehely then singled to shortstop, a ball in the gap that didn't allow Bemboom to advance to third. A strike out looking followed by a game-ending double play shut down the Creighton rally in the ninth.
Making his NCAA leading 11th start of the season, Ty Blach kept the Huskers scoreless in his 2.0 innings of work. The southpaw gave up three hits but struck out four, forcing the Huskers to strand three runners in the opening pair of innings.
Nebraska struck first, however, putting up a single run in the third and four runs in the fourth. The Huskers used a pair of defensive errors, a passed ball, a wild pitch and three infield singles to push across the five combined runs off Bluejay reliever Nick Musec.
Creighton struggled offensively against Nebraska's opening pitcher Jon Kelly, putting up just one run in Kelly's 8.0 innings on the mound. In the sixth inning, Brennan Murphy drew a one out hit-by pitch and advanced to second with a single through the right side by Chance Ross. Ross had two hits on the night for the Jays, also picking up Creighton's first hit in the fourth inning with a single off Kelly.
With Murphy and Ross on first and second, Brad McKewon flied out to fight field, driving the ball deep enough to allow Murphy to advance to third base. A passed ball by Husker catcher Cory Burleson allowed both runners to advance, giving Creighton its first run of the game.
Mark Winkelman and Chase Webb each pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, as the duo allowed just one baserunner to reach (via error) in the final four innings of play.
The Bluejays finished the night with six hits, three of which came in the final inning of play. Judkins and Staehely each had a pair of hits for the Jays, while Bemboom and Thornburg picked up one hit each.
The Bluejays remain out of conference play through the weekend, hosting South Dakota State on Friday and Sunday, with a single game against Iowa sandwiched in on Saturday afternoon. All three games will be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
NOTES: Creighton has now lost the opening game of the three-game series with Nebraska in six of the last nine openers ... The Creighton pitching staff surrendered just two earned runs on the night, as Creighton made a season-high three errors. That is the most since they committed three at Iowa (5/17/11) ... The Bluejay pitchers combined to strikeout seven Huskers on the night, but possibly more impressively did not issue a walk or hit a batter through the nine innings ...