OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team closed out the weekend with a 6-5 win over South Dakota State, improving to 15-17 overall on the season. The Bluejays overcame deficits three different times, including putting up two runs in the bottom of the eighth to pick up the win.
Anthony Bemboom and Mike Gerber each picked up a pair of hits in the single game this afternoon, with Bemboom scoring twice and Gerber driving in three runs, the most in a single game for the sophomore this season. Bluejay pitcher Kurt Spomer picked up his first win of the season (1-0), throwing 1.0 innings of relief work and allowing one earned run.
South Dakota State struck first, stringing together three singles in the inning to push across a single run off Bluejay starter Ty Blach. Blach limited the scoring to just one run, leaving the bases full of Jackrabbit runners with a strike out and inning-ending ground ball to Petr Zyma at second.
The run would be the lone run surrendered by Blach in his 12th start of the season. The southpaw retired 14 of the 21 batters he faced, allowing four walks and striking out three in his 5.0 innings of work.
Creighton responded by putting up the tying run in the bottom of the frame. Bemboom led off the inning with his team-leading 10th double of the season, and advanced to third on a ground out from Scott Thornburg. A sacrifice fly to deep center field off the bat of Mike Gerber allowed Bemboom to score.
The Bluejays then put up a pair of runs in the fourth to take their first lead. Nick Judkins led off the inning reaching safely due to an error by SDSU shortstop Eric Cain. Bemboom made it a pair of runners on with a single to center field. The duo advanced to second and third with a sacrifice bunt from Thornburg before a Gerber double to right center scored both runners and giving Creighton the 3-1 lead.
The two teams then exchanged runs in the seventh and eighth innings, scoring a combined seven runs in the two frames. A three-run, seventh inning put SDSU back on top 4-3 before the Bluejays scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Peter led off the frame with a double to left center before Brad McKewon was hit by a pitch. An attempted sacrifice bunt forced out Peter at third, but a single to left from Alex Staehely re-loaded the bases.
All three runners advanced on a wild pitch from JD Moore, tying the game at 4-4. SDSU pushed across one run on relief pitcher Kurt Spomer in the eighth inning, before Creighton took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame. Gerber led off the inning with a double over the head of the SDSU left fielder. Michael Mutcheson picked up a pinch-hit single to put the winning run on base.
Mutcheson stole second to put both runners in scoring position and the pair advanced when Peter grounded out to the right side, driving in the tying run. A wild pitch from Austin Busse then allowed Mutcheson to score the winning run of the game. Reese McGraw came in and tossed 1.0 innings, earning his fourth save of the season after stranding a Jackrabbit runner on third in the top of the ninth.
Five different Bluejay pitchers made appearances on the afternoon, led by Blach's 5.0 innings of work. Shane Liska allowed three runs in his 1.1 innings on the mound and Chase Webb struck out a pair in 0.2 innings of work.
The Bluejays take this week off from a midweek game, traveling to Carbondale, Ill., next weekend for a three-game MVC series at Southern Illinois. First pitch from Carbondale is set for 3:00 pm on Friday.
NOTES: Creighton's Alex Staehely had started 144 straight games prior to Sunday's, when he was forced to miss the start due to coaches descretion following his ejection from the game on Friday night. Staehely came into the game in the bottom of the third inning ... Five different pitchers made appearances in the game for the Bluejays, with Kurt Spomer's 1.0 innings giving him his first win of the season ... Creighton now holds a 15-5 lead over South Dakota State ... Head coach Ed Servais is just four wins away from his 500th win as a collegiate head coach. The Creighton skipper is now 496-263-1 overall.