OMAHA, Neb. - Sophomore Mark Lukowski supplied five innings of scoreless relief to lift Creighton to a 7-5 win over Bradley on Saturday, April 6.
Creighton moved to 17-6 with the win and 4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play. Bradley, meanwhile, fell to 11-15 overall and 1-4 in MVC action.
As they did on Friday, the Bluejays got off to a quick start with two runs in the bottom of the first. All of the Jays damage in the first came with two outs. Sophomore Jake Peter drew a walk, then scampered around to score the first run on an RBI double to right-center by junior Mike Gerber. Senior Alex Staehely followed with an RBI single to left to give Creighton a 2-0 edge.
Bradley scratched across a run in the top of the second on two singles, a sacrifice and an RBI groundout. The Jays, however, grabbed the run back in the bottom of the frame. Junior Jerry Mitchell led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice, then scored on an infield single by junior Federico Castagnini that was mishandled by Bradley's David Compitello.
Mitchell got the Jays going again in the fourth as his leadoff single helped the Jays push their lead to 5-1. Junior Brad McKewon delivered his second sacrifice of the game, then Castagnini put runners at the corners with his second infield single. An RBI groundout by Peter sent Mitchell home, then Gerber smacked an RBI single to right.
Bradley, though, loaded the bases with two singles and a walk at the onset of the fifth inning. After Bluejay starter, senior Nick Musec, forced in a run on a walk to Compitello, head coach Ed Servais went to the bullpen for sophomore Mark Lukowski.
Lukowski appeared poised to get out of the inning with a strikeout and a bouncer back to the mound for the first two outs, but Bradley's Mike Tauchmann blasted the first pitch he saw down the right field line for a game tyying three-run triple. Tauchmann was stranded at third and the game went to the bottom of the fifth knotted at 5-5.
Senior Brennan Murphy lined a single to right to open the Jays' fifth. He stole second, then two outs later went to third on a wild pitch. McKewon delivered in the clutch with an RBI single up the middle to give Creighton a 6-5 lead.
Sent back to the mound with the lead, Lukowski set down nine of the next 10 batters he faced to send the Jays to the bottom of the eighth clinging to their one-run lead.
Castagnini and Peter opened the eighth with a single and a walk respectively. After a sacrifice by Gerber, Staehely gave the Jays some breathing room via an RBI single to center to push the game to 7-5.
With the additional cushion Lukowski was allowed to close out the game, working around a two-out single. He earned his fourth win of the season (4-1), holding Bradley to just three hits in a career-high five innings of scoreless relief.
Bradley's Eric Scheuermann took the loss (2-2), surrendering three runs on five hits and one walk in 3.1 innings of relief.
Offensively it was Staehely leading the way with a 3-for-4 day, collecting two RBI. Gerber also finished with two RBI, going 2-for-4.
The Jays go for the series sweep over Bradley on Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m. in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.