BLUEJAY BASEBALL 2011 MVC Regular Season Champions • MVC Tournament Champions
Creighton (44-14) vs. Georgia (31-30) • June 3, 2011 • 3:00 p.m. Central Goss Stadium, Corvallis, Ore. Opening Round • NCAA Tournament
Opening Round Opponents
No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs www.georgiadogs.com Record: 31-30 • Location: Athens, Ga. Head Coach: David Perno • Alma Mater: Georgia (1991) Career Record: 336-275-1 • School Record: Same 2011 Record: 31-30 • 2011 SEC Regular Season Finish 4th
In the Corvallis Regional
No. 1 Oregon State Beavers www.osubeavers.com Record: 38-17 • Location: Corvallis, Ore. Head Coach: Pat Casey • Alma Mater: George Fox (1990) Career Record: 746-467-5 • School Record: 575-354-4 2011 Record: 38-17 • 2011 Pac 10 Regular Season Finish T2nd
No. 4 Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans www.ualrtrojans.com Record: 24-32 • Location: Little Rock, Ark. Head Coach: Scott Norwood • Alma Mater: Oral Roberts (1988) Career Record: 251-202 • School Record: 69-83 2011 Record: 24-32 • 2011 SBC Regular Season Finish 8th
In the Field Creighton is one of 64 Division I baseball programs that willl get the chance to play baseball in June, thanks to the automatic bid given to the winner of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The top eight national seeds are Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Texas and Rice. Creighton has more wins than three of the top eight seeds. The ACC and SEC led all conferences in the number of teams in the championship field with seven apiece. The MVC has just one, the Creighton Bluejays. Three teams, Belmont, Alcorn State and UALR, are making their first ever tournament appearance after winning their respective non-BCS conference tournaments. Overall, 36 of the 64 teams are repeat teams from the tournament a year ago.
What’s at Stake The 2011 Creighton baseball team is aiming to become the first CU team to win a regional. The Jays would need to combine solid pitching (which they showed in the MVC Tournament they have) and the offensive power that has shown up at times this season to do so. The winner of the Corvallis Regional will travel to Nashville, Tenn. (assuming the seeds hold) and play the No. 6 Vanderbilt in the Super Regional, assuming the 47-10 team comes out of their Regional. Also in the Nashville Regional are Oklahoma State, Troy and Belmont. The winner of that Super Regional will head to Omaha for the 2011 College World Series.
Servais Magic Creighton is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament under Ed Servais. Servais’ clubs are 3-4 in that time, including two wins over North Carolina State and one win over Albany. Servais is the only Creighton coach to take the baseball team to the postseason three or more times.
Regulars... Almost Creighton will be heading to it’s ninth Regional in school history, the third under head coach Ed Servais. The Jays went as the automatic bid after winning the 2007 MVC Tournament and received an at-large bid after the 2005 season, which they won the MVC Regular Season.
Dancing Creighton is 12-16 in postseason play in school history, including 4-10 since the 1991 team advanced to the only College World Series in program history. The Jays also hold a 4-4 mark in the first game of a postseason Regional. The 2011 team will be looking to be the first Creighton team to make it to a super regional, as the current format was not set up when the Jays won the West I Regional in the 1991 season, advancing directly to the CWS. Below is a listing of the Regionals and the finish: 1973 NCAA District 5 Playoffs 0-2 (Four-team District at Tulsa, OK) 1990 NCAA Central Regional 2-2 (Austin, Texas) 1991 NCAA West I Regional 4-0 (Los Angeles, Calif.) College World Series (Omaha, Neb.) 2-2 1992 NCAA Central Regional 1-2 (Austin, Texas) 1999 NCAA South Bend Regional 0-2 2000 NCAA Tempe Regional 0-2 2005 NCAA Lincoln Regional 2-2 2007 NCAA Fayetteville Regional 1-2
Outdoing Yourself As of Monday morning the Bluejays held an unofficial No. 29 best RPI in the country, the highest it has been all season. The Jays previous peak was 38 following the sweep at Indiana State.
Fun Fact Creighton is one of five schools nationally to reach the NCAA Tournament in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and baseball during the 2010-11 school year. The Bluejays are joined on that list by California, New Mexico, North Carolina and UCLA.
Winning Ways Of the 16 NCAA Regional Sites, the Bluejays hold more wins than 11 of the 16 hosts. The only teams with more wins that will be hosting the first round of the tournament are North Carolina (45-14), Virginia (49-9), South Carolina (45-14), Florida (45-16) and Vanderbilt (47-10). The Bluejays have more wins than each of the other three in the Corvallis Regional, with Oregon State (38), Georgia (31) and Arkansas-Little Rock (24) rounding out the region.
Meet the Other Three Georgia went 31-30 during the season, including a 16-14 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Bulldog closer Tyler Maloof (2-2, 7.92 ERA) leads the nation with 18 saves, while Michael Palazzone (10-4, 3.20 ERA) tops the team in wins and has walked just 11 men in 112.1 innings of work. Levi Hyams (.318, 4 HR, 37 RBI) tops the team in hitting, while Kyle Farmer (.304, 7 HR, 53 RBI) leads the team in the power categories. Though the third seed in the Corvallis Regional, the Bulldogs own the best RPI of the foursome at 16, have played the nation’s toughest schedule, and own 21 wins against the top-50 in the RPI. • Creighton and Georgia have never met, Ed Servais has never faced Georgia, and David Perno has never faced Creighton. • Creighton and Georgia shared no common opponents in 2011.
Top-seeded Oregon State enters the NCAA Tournament with a 38-17 record despite five straight losses to close the regular-season, dropping six of the last seven. Sophomore Andrew Susac (.325, 5 HR, 31 RBI) is one of the nation’s top catchers and is back after a broken hamate bone earlier this season caused him to miss five weeks. Kavin Keyes (.315, 29 RBI) also hits over .300 for the Beavers. OSU’s top two starters are Sam Gaviglio (11-2, 1.95 ERA, 102 K’s) and Josh Osich (6-4, 3.57 ERA), while Tony Bryant (3-2, 1.59 ERA, 10 saves) holds down the back end of the bullpen. Osich threw a nine-inning no-hitter at UCLA on April 30th, while Gaviglio blanked Long Beach State on March 18th with a one-hit shutout of the Dirtbags. • Creighton is 0-2 all-time against Oregon State, with both previous meetings taking place in March of 1996 in Fresno, Calif., as part of the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic. Oregon State won the first meeting, 8-3, then beat the Bluejays the following day by a 14-10 count. That Creighton team went 19-31-1, while that Oregon State squad finished 32-16-1. • Ed Servais has never faced Oregon State, while Pat Casey is 2-0 against Creighton. • Creighton and Oregon State have just one common opponent, Portland. Creighton went 3-0 against Portland while Oregon State was 2-0 against UP.
Arkansas-Little Rock joins Belmont and Alcorn State as one of three schools making its NCAA Tournament debut in 2011, after going 4-0 last weekend to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the eighth-seed. The Trojans were just 10-21 away from home on the year, and enter the postseason with a 24-32 overall mark. Myles Parma (.355, 3 HR, 19 RBI) leads the Trojans in hitting, while Jason Houston (.327, 6 HR, 26 RBI) and Jake Rowell (.272, 6 HR, 42 RBI) also swing big bats in the line-up. Designated hitter Nick Rountree (.287, 7 HR, 34 RBI) was the only all-Sun Belt Conference selection for UALR. The Trojan pitching staff includes Calvin Drinnen (6-6, 4.82 ERA) and Tournament MVP Garret Graziano (6-9, 6.41 ERA).. • Creighton is 7-3 all-time against Arkansas-Little Rock, but the teams have not met since Creighton swept a three-game series in Little Rock in March of 2007. Creighton also went 0-2 in 2006 at UALR, split two games in 2004 at UALR, and 2--0 in 2002 in a tournament held in San Antonio, Texas. The first meeting between the schools took place in Stillwater, Okla., in 1991, a 6-3 Bluejay victory. • Creighton head coach Ed Servais is 4-3 in his career against UALR, but has never coached against Scott Norwood. Norwood has never faced Creighton. • Creighton and UALR have numerous common opponents, with Creighton going 8-2 against those foes and UALR being 5-7. Creighton went 4-0 vs. Bradley, while UALR was 1-2 against the Braves. Creighton was 2-1 vs. Arkansas State, while UALR was 2-4. Creighton was 2-0 vs. Kansas, while UALR was 0-1. The Jays went 0-1 vs. Central Arkansas, while the Trojans went 2-0.
Been There Before Creighton owns three fifth-year seniors that redshirted on the 2007 team that beat Wichita State in the MVC Tournament final and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. That trio includes Jimmy Swift, Greg Hellhake and Jack VanLeur.
Against The Field Creighton went 5-0 against teams in the NCAA Tournament field in 2011. The Bluejays swept a four-game series at New Mexico in late February and defeated Kansas State on April 12 in Omaha. The Bluejays are one of just three teams in the NCAA Tournament field without a loss against NCAA Tournament qualifiers. Manhattan went 2-0, while Wright State did not face a team this season that reached the NCAA Tournament.
No Sleep Needed Creighton is one of just two teams nationally that had to win five games to win its conference tournament. Texas State needed five games to win the Southland Conference,
The Fake Stuff The Bluejays have a distinct advantage that many teams in the country may not at this time of year. The Jays moved into TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on April 19, a field which is natural grass and dirt. Their old home, the CU Sports Complex, is composed of field turf. The Jays spent Monday and Tuesday practicing at the old complex instead of the new state-of-the-art ballpark to prepare for the field conditions and the bounce of the field turf. Overall this season, the Jays are 17-5 when playing on an artificial field and 27-9 on dirt and grass. Creighton’s last series on a turf field was at Wichita State, May 6-8. • The Jays hold a .982 fielding percentage when playing on a turf field, committing 15 errors in their 22 games on the surface. 12 of the 15 have come on the infield, with Jimmy Swift, Chance Ross and Alex Staehely combining for 12. • The Jays have put pressure on opponents when playing on field turf, forcing 31 errors in the same 22 games. The Jays have also stole 23-30 bases when playing on turf.
On the Road Again While the Jays hold an impressive 23-5 record at home this season (a .821 winning percentage), the CU team isn’t too shabby on the road, picking up the seventh best road record in the country, according to the baseball site warrennolan.com. The Jays are 18-8 when playing in true road contests, 21-1 any time they are outside the city of Omaha. Also according to warrennolan.com, the Bluejays have the sixth best winning percentage (75.9%) and the sixth most wins in the country (44).
Perfection The Bluejays played nearly perfect baseball when they needed it most this season. The Jays swept Missouri State to close out the regular season, leaving them a game ahead of Wichita State for the MVC Regular Season Crown. They then, due to weather conditions and a second round loss, played six games in four days, including beating Missouri State another two times and long-time MVC powerhouse Wichita State once to claim the Tournament Championship.
Team Players Creighton used a whole host of improbable leaders in the five wins during the MVC Tournament. The Jays were led offensively by Clay Cuno, who picked up his first start of the season during the tournament, but was named to the All-Tournament team after hitting .426 in the five games he made appearances in. Senior Greg Hellhake threw the game of his life, tossing a complete game, two-hit shutout in the first elimination game for the Bluejays. Junior Erik Mattingly made just two appearances on the mound the whole season, but came in as the final arm in the Bluejay bullpen to throw two innings of scoreless baseball, earning his first win as a Bluejay in the process, to advance the Jays into the MVC Tournament Championship.
Regular Season Champions The Bluejays won the MVC Regular Season Championship for the first time since 2005, using a sweep of Missouri State in the final weekend of play to do so. The Jays sat atop the league through the whole season. Creighton’s road didn’t come easy, as the Jays opened up play at the defending tournament champions Illinois State. The Jays took two-of-three and then traveled to Indiana State the following weekend, earning their first of three conference series sweeps. Home series began with the opening of the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, with the SIU Salukis taking two of three on opening weekend. CU turned around and swept Bradley before hitting the road again, traveling to Wichita State and Evansville, winning three of the six games between the two series and clinging to a half game lead entering the final weekend of play. The sweep of Missouri State gave the Jays the crown outright.
Complete 360 The MVC Championship game was a complete turn around from the first time Ty Blach and WSU’s Charlie Lowell matched up. Blach gave up a career high 6 earned runs in that game, while Lowell threw a complete game shutout. On Saturday night, Blach finished with 3.2 innings of work and five K’s, while Lowell surrendered all three Bluejay runs in his 6.0 innings of work. Blach also struck out Chris O’Brien of Wichita State twice on the day, the first time the senior has done that since the beginning of March.
Wink Mark Winkelman started Creighton’s 4-3 win over Missouri State on May 27th, his first start of the season, and just the second start of his career. He threw a career-long 46 pitches and four innings of work while holding the Bears to just one run. Winkelman leads the MVC and is tied for seventh-most nationally with 34 appearances. That also ranks tied for sixth-most in Creighton single-season history. Take away an inconsistent April (7.71 ERA in 11 appearances) and Winkelman owns a 0.88 ERA in his other 23 appearances, allowing just three earned runs in 30.2 innings.
Turning Things Around After going 27-25 last year, Creighton is 44-14 in 2011 to rank third among the nation’s most-improved teams, and best among teams to reach the NCAA Tournament. Below is a list of the 10 most improved teams from 2010 to 2011.
Team 2010 W-L 2011 W-L Improvement Long Island 14-42 28-23 +16.5 Gonzaga 20-36 32-19-1 +14.5 Creighton* 27-25 44-14 +14.0 Sam Houston 19-36 35-24 +14.0 SIUE 13-38 28-26 +13.5 Stetson* 27-31 41-18 +13.5 Texas A&M –Corpus Christi 17-33-1 35-24 +13.5 UNC Greensboro 20-33 34-20 +13.5 Stony Brook 31-27 42-12 +13.0 W. Michigan 11-41 26-31 +12.5 *2011 NCAA Tournament qualifiers
Not for Spectators The Creighton Bluejays have no players who have played in an NCAA Tournament game, as the team is making just their ninth overall appearance, the first since 2007, The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have made six appearances in the College World Series including in 2004, 2006 and most recently in 2008. The team went 1-2 when they last were in the Tournament, playing in the 2009 Tallahassee Regional. The UALR Trojans are making their first appearance and the Beavers are making their sixth appearance in the last seven seasons.
Follow the Jays Follow the Jays all post-season through live stats at www.gocreighton.com. Click on the link on the right side of the front page to follow all the action of Creighton baseball in the NCAA Tournament. The opening game will also be broadcast on KOIL 1180 AM on Friday with John Bishop and David Gustafson calling the game. A link for that is on the baseball schedule page on www.gocreighton.com also. Make sure to check in after the game for statistics on your favorite Jays. You can also follow the Jays via Twitter at gocreighton or on Facebook at Official Creighton Athletics Page.
Last Time Out The Bluejays made an impressive run in the Missouri Valley Tournament to claim their first title crown since the 2005 season. The Jays won their opening round game against the No. 8 seeded Bradley Braves 4-1 in a game that was originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. Inclement weather forced tournament officials to delay the Tuesday games, pushing Creighton’s first game to Wednesday morning. The club then had to come back to play again that night, nearly 12 hours later, falling 10-3 to Missouri State and putting them in the elimination portion of the bracket.
They shutout Southern Illinois behind a career best pitching performance from Greg Hellhake, who went the full 9.0 innings, giving up just two hits and retiring the final 16 batters he faced. Creighton picked up nine hits in the game, with Jimmy Swift, Chance Ross and Clay Cuno each going 2-for-4. The Jays found themselves in the second straight day of 2-a-days, facing Missouri State to try and force an if-necessary game and stay alive in the tournament. The Jays found themselves trailing by 2-run deficits twice in the game, but battled back to tie the game at five apiece. In the eighth inning, Nick Judkins popped a ball down the left field line that the MSU left fielder caught in foul-territory, but Ross had tagged on the play, scoring the winning run, Creighton’s first, and only, lead of the game.
That win forced an if-necessary game to be played on Friday. The Bluejays were tired and out of pitching to go another nine-inning game, but found themselves in a battle that would go even longer than that. The Jays and Bears were tied 3-3 when Creighton put in Erik Mattingly who had made just two appearances all season. The junior had an ERA of 27.00, but was the last arm the Jays had left. Mattingly responded as had everyone else in the tournament, tossing 2.0 innings of scoreless baseball (helped by an unconventional 1-4-6-3 double play) to keep the Jays in the game. In the bottom of the 12th, MSU closer Dan Kickham bounced in a ball that got past the Bears’ catcher, allowing Anthony Bemboom to race home from third base and push the Jays into the MVC Championship game.
Creighton took the early 2-0 lead in the championship game against Wichita State and never looked back. The Jays put another tally in the board in the fifth inning, but it wouldn’t be necessary as Creighton lined up Jonas Dufek, Ty Blach, Reese McGraw, Jack VanLeur and Kurt Spomer to limit the Shockers to just one run on the night, giving Creighton the league title and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Scouting Creighton Creighton won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship and tournament title after being picked to finish fifth in the conference this season, returning 20 players and just four starters from the team that went 27-25 last season. The Bluejays sat atop the MVC all season long, finishing with a 44-14 overall record and 15-6 mark in the MVC. It marked the first time a Creighton club has won the regular season and tournament in the same year.
Creighton is being led offensively this season by Trever Adams and Alex Staehely. Adams leads the team in batting average (.392), home runs (14), RBI (57) and triples (4). Adams has six game winning RBI this season, including blasting a two run home run against North Dakota State and a walk-off single up the middle in the 4-3 win over Portland. He also picked up the first Bluejay hit and scored the first run in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history. He currently has reached base safely in 42 consecutive games. Staehely continues to swing a hot bat, second on the team with a .286 batting average and a team leading 22 doubles, second in the MVC. Clay Cuno made an impressive statement in the MVC Tournament, hitting .426 with five doubles, earning All-Tournament team honors. Michael Mutcheson and Jimmy Swift lead the team in hit by pitch with 11 on the season. Overall, the team is hitting .269 with 309 runs on 512 hits and 110 doubles.
The Jays have also had solid pitching performances on the mound this season. Jonas Dufek has moved into the Friday night starter position, leading the staff with 118 strikeouts this season. The Jays are 14-1 in his 15 starts on the mound this season. He and Greg Hellhake set career strikeout records, with 13 and six, respectively while Ty Blach fanned a career high of nine against MVC foe Southern Illinois (4/22/11). Kurt Spomer has been the top pitcher lately, picking up the closer position and holding a 1.93 ERA and 13 saves. The pitching staff has a combined 3.38 ERA and is holding opponents to a .240 batting average against.
As any team under Ed Servais can attest - the Jays are still among the nation’s best in defense, as they hold a .980 fielding percentage on the season. Creighton committed just one error in each of the last three MVC weekend series, and has committed 45 in the 58 games this season.
Fate? The Creighton baseball team has the stars lined up in their direction so far this postseason. The Bluejays won five times in the MVC Tournament, including three wins in 36 hours to earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Jays won three games in the tournament on incredibly rare scenarios: a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly caught in foul territory and a catcher’s balk.
By the Skin of Their Teeth Creighton has excelled in close games all season long, going 6-0 in extra inning contests, 18-6 in one-run games and 7-1 in games decided by exactly two runs. Georgia is 0-2 in extra innings, but 11-6 in one-run games and 8-4 in two-run contests. Creighton owns an 18-6 record in one-run games this year and is 8-0 since May 13th in games decided by two runs or less. Creighton’s 18 one-run victories are its most in any season during the eight-year run of Ed Servais.
In the Polls Creighton is ranked 25th in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, the nation’s oldest poll, and the one used by Creighton Athletics for ranking purposes. Creighton was tabbed 28th by Collegiate Baseball on April 18th, only to go 1-3 the following week and disappear from the rankings until now. This is the highest Creighton has been ranked by the paper since May 28, 2007, when the Bluejays were tabbed 22nd after winning its first MVC Tournament title. Potential Regional opponent Oregon State is ranked 13th in Collegiate Baseball’s poll.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Creighton maintained the No. 25 spot in the poll for the second straight week. Oregon State is ranked 16th, while Georgia is among several teams receiving votes. This is the ninth straight week and 12th time in 13 weeks that the Bluejays have received votes in the coaches poll.
In the National College Baseball Writers Association poll, Creighton moved up one spot to 26th. In that poll, Oregon State is 18th.
Improbable Star Erik Mattingly earned his first win as a Bluejay by throwing two scoreless innings last Friday vs. Missouri State, out-dueling Valley save leader Dan Kickham in the extra inning victory. Mattingly, who had thrown two innings all season and entered with a 27.00 ERA, had thrown just six pitches since in game action since being shelled for six runs in 1.1 innings on February 27th in his only other mound appearance since arriving at Creighton.
Pretty Darn Good Creighton is 9-1 in their last 10 games, losing just once to Missouri State in the MVC Tournament. The Jays are hitting .234 during that stretch, but the pitching staff has been the real story. The 11-man staff holds a 2.32 ERA in 93.0 innings of work. The Jays have walked 35 batters while striking out 65 in that span and are holding opponents to just a .212 batting average against. The staff also has seven saves in that span, with Kurt SpomerJonas Dufek has a 3-0 record in his three appearances, while Reese McGraw ties Spomer with seven appearances apiece.
Bluejays at their Offensive Best • Head coach Ed Servais became the winningest head coach in Bluejay baseball history with the 5-3 win over Iowa (coached by former Bluejay skipper Jack Dahm) on Tuesday. Servais now sits at 298-163 (.646 winning percentage), needing just two wins to get to the 300 plateau. • Creighton’s head men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott also reached the 300 career mark this season. as well as making a postseason appearance in the state of Oregon (against the Oregon Ducks and former Bluejay head coach Dana Altman). • Creighton has three players with at least 50 at bats that hold a batting average of above .300 on the road this season. Leading the charge is Trever Adams, holding a .365 average on the road, including half of his 14 home runs. Scott Thornburg is next with a .357 average and seven RBI, while Michael Mutcheson still holds a .300 average on the road. • Scott Thornburg is hitting nearly .90 points higher when on the road this season. The junior catcher has driven in seven RBI on eight RBI during games on the road this season, while he has 15 total RBI and 13 doubles on the season. • Before May 25th, Clay Cuno had just one double in the first two years as a Creighton Bluejay. He had a double in four consecutive games, and an MVC Tournament-best five two-baggers last week. Cuno was the first Bluejay with a double in four straight games since former MVC Player of the Year Darin Ruf did so from March 3-6, 2007. • Clay Cuno’s two-run double in the first inning vs. Missouri State on May 27th were his first two RBI of the season, and first since April 7, 2010. He had played in 27 straight games without an RBI. • Nick Judkins owns a league-leading 21 sacrifice bunts this season, tying him for 16th nationally in NCAA single-season history. His 21 sacrifice bunts are second in 2011 and just one away from Vince Pietro’s school- and MVC-record total of 22 in 1999 • In the 10 games Joey Bowens has started while at home this season, the fourth-year junior is hitting .393 (11-for-28). Bowens is hitting .207 on the season overall. • Trever Adams has increased his streak of reaching base to 42 games, taking over the lead in Bluejay history. Teammate Mike Gerber had a streak of 16 earlier this season, and is currently sitting at a 10-game streak. • Alex Staehely leads the Bluejays with 22 doubles this season. That is the most by a single Bluejay since 2005, when Dan Norquist (22) reached the 22-mark. The Bluejay record sits at 30, set by Oneri Fleita in 1988. • Jimmy Swift hit his third home run of the season in the second inning against Nebraska, a two run shot over the left field fence. Swift has a hit in 12-of-the-last-16 games, driving in seven runs in that span. He also has hit two doubles, one triple and one home run in that span. He was named MVC Player of the Week following the Bradley series when he went 7-for-13 with 10 RBI. • Nick Judkins has been a vaccuum at first base this season. The junior has committed just two errors on the season (one at Illinois State on 4/9 and one against Nebraska on 5/10) in 573 chances, for a .997 fielding percentage. His 533 putouts place him in 8th all-time. • Chance Ross had an RBI double against Nebraska on Tuesday, an RBI at Evansville and an RBI in the 5-3 win at Iowa. The everyday third baseman is hitting .225 this season and was at bat when Anthony Bemboom scored on a passed ball against Missouri State. • Nick Judkins leads the MVC with 21 sacrifice bunts, tied for second nationally. No other Bluejay has more than 12. He broke into the top 10 on the Bluejay all-time charts, jumping all the way into 2nd for sacrifices in a season. • Michael Mutcheson has been Creighton’s top leadoff hitter this season. The Jays are 35-7 when Mutcheson bats leadoff, and 9-7 when all other players hit atop the order.
Meet the Jays Pitching Staff • Creighton has not allowed a home run in the last 16 games, a span of 148 innings. Wichita State’s Tyler Grimes went yard in the eighth inning on May 6, 2011 for the last home run off the staff. • Creighton earned a save in all four victories going into the MVC Tournament and added three during the six games, giving them a Valley-best 21 saves this season, which also is tied for ninth-most nationally. Each of the previous 14 teams in league history with 18 saves or more in a season would advance to the NCAA Tournament. • Jonas Dufek is a perfect 4-0 on the mound when the Jays are on the road this season. In his six starts and 38.0 innings of work, the senior right hander has 45 strikeouts, allowing just 12 walks and 11 earned runs. His 2.61 ERA is the best of Bluejay pitcher on the road this season. He threw one of his best games in his career while on the road, a complete game shutout against Valparaiso. • Mark Winkelman remains one of the best relief pitchers on the Creighton staff. In games on the road this season, the left-hander has come in to the ballgame with 15 baserunners on base, and has allowed just three to score. He holds a 2.62 ERA while on the road in a team high 19 appearances on the road. • When on the road this season, the Creighton bullpen holds a 4.01 ERA, allowing 48 earned runs in their 107.2 innings of work. Only three relief pitchers have less than 10 appearances on the road, while Mark Winkelman (19), Kurt Spomer (13), Jack VanLeur (15), Reese McGraw (14) and Chase Webb (12) have each been seen in multiple games during the three-game series. • Jack VanLeur threw in four MVC Tournament games, giving him 113 career mound appearances. That ranks most in the nation among active players. It’s second-most in Creighton history and just 10 behind the school and MVC record held by Scott Reese (2004-07). He’s within range of moving into second-place this weekend, as he can pass former Wichita State pitchers Noah Booth (115) and Jaime Bluma (114) with a few more appearances. • Jonas Dufek will enter Friday’s start with 118 strikeouts, third-most in Creighton single-season history and rank ninth nationally among all players in 2011. The only men above him in one year for Creighton history are former first-round draft picks Dan Smith (134 in 1990) and Alan Benes (122 in 1993). Dufek’s 234 career strikeouts rank eighth-most in school-history, just one behind Christian Sterling (1996-98) for seventh place. • Jonas Dufek has more wins than any other pitcher in the Ed Servais era, with 23 in his career. That ranks fifth-most in Creighton career history. His 11 wins in 2011 are tied for fifth-most in Creighton single-season history, and tied for sixth-most nationally in 2011. • Ty Blach had another solid outing for the Jays against Missouri State, pitching 8.0 innings of shutout baseball. The south paw allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out eight. Blach held a 2.70 ERA in Valley play this season, holding a 4-1 record. • Creighton’s bullpen while at home has been lights out. Kurt Spomer holds a 2-0 record with five saves and a 0.39 ERA in 23.1 innings of work while at home this season and Reese McGraw is right behind him with a 4-0. The two have combined for 29 strikeouts and seven walks. When on the road, Spomer holds a 3.26 ERA while McGraw has a 4.32. • Kurt Spomer’s 13 saves are the most by a Bluejay since Andy Masten had 16 in 2007 for the Jays. His 13 saves are the most by a junior in Creighton history for one season. • Mark Winkelman leads the pitching staff on the road with 19 appearances. He holds a 2.62 ERA with one on the road. • Jonas Dufek moved in the Creighton all-time charts, thanks to his 12 strikeouts against Wichita State. He now is 5th in career wins (23), T-5th for wins in a season (11), 3rd in strike outs in a season (118) and T-7th in strike outs in a career (235). • Through games of Friday, Creighton was one of four teams nationally with a pair of 10-game winners (Ty Blach with 10 and Jonas Dufek with 11). Georgia Tech’s Buck Farmer (10) and Mark Pope (11), Michael Rocha (10) and Burch Simth (10) of Oklahoma and Will Roberts (10) and Danny Hultzen (10) of Virginia.
Get one for the Gipper... Or Skipper! Head coach Ed Servais moved into first place on the All-Time list for wins as a Bluejay baseball head coach in the 5-3 win over Iowa on May 17, following moving into second with the 10-1 win over Bradley on Saturday, April 30. Servais holds a .646 winning percentage at the helm of the Jays, winning MVC Coach of the Year award three times in his first seven seasons. He has compiled a 298-163 record in his eighth season as Creighton’s skipper. Below is a list of the top three in order:
Coach (Years) Record Win % Ed Servais (2004-present) 298-163 .646 Jim Hendry (1984*-1991) 289-182-2 .613 Jack Dahm (1994-2003) 283-276-2 .506 * Hendry took over mid-way through the 1984 season. Spotlight: Trever Adams Trever Adams is the only player with two seasons of 12 or more homers under Ed Servais. He’s also the only player under Servais with multiple seasons of 74 or more hits, to hit over .350 in two different seasons, to own more than 120 total bases more than once and also the first player with two seasons of 53 or more RBI as well. • Adams has reached base safely in 42 straight games. It’s Creighton’s longest streak since at least 2000. • Adams owns 151 total bases on the season, most by a Bluejay since 1999 (Ryan Gripp and Peyton Lewis). • Adams is hitting .374 in his career entering the NCAA Tournament, fifth-best in school history. The last player to finish a career better than .360 was Scott Stahoviak, who hit a school-record .418 from 1989-91 en route to National Player of the Year accolades in his junior campaign. • Adams is the first Bluejay outfielder to be named first-team all-MVC since Chris Hinrichs in 2000. • Trever Adams is the only player in the Missouri Valley Conference with at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases this year. Through games of May 27th, he was also the nation’s only player who was hitting better than .390 with 14 or more home runs and 11 or more stolen bases, as well one of two players nationally (joining LSU’s Mikie Mahtook) with at least 14 homers and 14 stolen bases.
In the ‘Pen Creighton’s bullpen figures to loom large in the postseason. This season, Creighton’s bullpen is a combined 19-5 with a 3.19 ERA and has tied a school-record with 21 saves. By comparison, opposing relievers to face Creighton are just 3-18 with a 4.52 ERA and seven saves this year. Since April 22nd, Creighton’s bullpen is 8-0 with 11 saves and a 3.52 ERA, while the opposition’s ‘pen men are 0-7 with a 4.81 ERA.
Defense Wins championships There’s an old adage that championships are won with pitching and defense, and those are two characteristics associated with Creighton baseball under Ed Servais. In the eight years under Servais, Creighton owns the nation’s fewest errors with just 415 miscues, more than 40 fewer than second-place San Jose State in that same span. Additionally, Creighton’s .978 fielding percentage under Servais also leads the nation, ahead of second-place South Carolina (.975.) The Jays are tied for 5th in the nation this season with a .980 fielding percentage. Creighton also ranks 20th nationally with a 4.06 ERA in the eight years under Servais. Of the teams on that top-20 list, 19 of the 20 have advanced to the Super Regionals since 2004, and 13 of the 20 have advanced to the College World Series (garnering five titles) in those years. Creighton’s three Rawlings Gold Gloves (including the only two-time winner, Darin Ruf), are also the most nationally since that program began at the collegiate level in 2007.
Looking at Kurt Spomer Kurt Spomer earned his 13th save in the MVC Tournament title game. That ranks second-most in school history, and is three behind Andy Masten’s record-mark of 16 in 2007. Spomer’s 12 saves are the most ever by a Bluejay junior. Creighton’s 21 saves in 2011 rank tied for fourth nationally. • Spomer has not allowed a run in his nine appearances since May 10th, picking up seven saves in that time while allowing just six hits in 10.1 innings of work. In his last 20 appearances since April 9th, he owns a 2-0 record with 12 saves and a scant 0.73 ERA in 24.2 frames. • Spomer owns a 1.93 ERA in 46.2 innings of work this season. He is currently the fourth reliever under Ed Servais to own 40 or more innings and a ERA of 2.25 or better. Each of the other three times it has happened (Brandon Bird in 2005 and both Pat Venditte and Andy Masten in 2007), the Jays have also reached the NCAA Tournament and won either the MVC regular-season or tournament title. Along those same lines, Spomer’s 13 saves are the most by a Bluejay since Masten had a school-record 16 saves in 2007. Bird had 11 saves in 2005.
FORE! Creighton started 2-3 in their new ballpark, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, but ended the regular season at the park 14-4. And while the team was hopeful to have a better opening weekend against SIU, the Jays currently sit at 44-14, the second best record in program history. Prior to the MVC Tournament the Jays were 39-12 after 52 games in regular season. Only one other team had a better record after 52 games, the 2007 NCAA Regional Team. Below is how each of those teams, as well as the 1999 and 2000 NCAA Tournament teams fared through 52: Year Record After 52 2007 40-12 2005 38-14 2000 35-17 1999 32-20 1991 34-18
The Fri-urday Starter Jonas Dufek has moved from the Saturday starter into the Friday position, leading off the weekend for the Bluejays on the mound. The senior from Omaha holds a 2.17 ERA and is 11-1 when starting in 17 appearances. He is holding opponents to a .202 batting average against, striking out 117 when starting. His counterpart, Ty Blach has the next best ERA among starters, holding a 2.72 ERA and a 10-2 mark when starting this season. The two combined have the lowest combined ERA of any Creighton starters this season (2.36). The duo is 21-3 in just over 200 innings of work as starters this season.
What a Relief!!! One reason for Creighton’s success in the last 10 games at home has been strong pitching by relievers Erik Mattingly (0.00 ERA 1-0, 2.0 IP), Mark Winkelman (0.93, 4 appearances, 9.2 IP), and Kurt Spomer (0-0, 4 saves in 5.1 IP). The trio has struck out 15 and not allowed an earned run over its last 18.1 innings of work.
Come From Behind Creighton has trailed in 20 of its 44 victories this season, and twice Creighton has rallied from six runs down to win games this season. The Jays trailed New Mexico 6-0 in an eventual 8-7, 11-inning win at New Mexico on Feb. 27th, and trailed 6-0 before beating Bradley 16-6 in seven innings on May 1st
Batting Around Creighton batters 1-through-9 each picked up a hit in the game against Nebraska on Tuesday, May 10, marking the third time this season the Jays have accomplished the feat. They also did it in the 7-5 win at Wichita State on May 7 and at Air Force on March 16. Leading the Jays on Tuesday were Michael Mutcheson, Alex Staehely and Scott Thornburg with two hits a piece, while Trever Adams improved his hit streak to 10-games, and his reaching base safely streak to 29 games, which leads the Valley this season.
Starter’s Success Ty Blach made his team-high 17th start of the season Wednesday, May 25, taking over the lead in the Valley this season. Creighton is 13-4 in Blach’s first 17 starts this year and the Bluejays have won 16 of the past 20 games he’s appeared in, dating to late last season. Blach has made 32 career appearances, including 28 starts. Only three times has the opposition scored four or more earned runs against him, and in 24 of those games Blach allowed two or fewer earned runs. Blach’s career ERA of 2.95 ranks third-best in the Ed Servais era among pitchers with 50 innings or more. Brandon Bird is first on that list at 2.60, while Pat Venditte is third on the same list at 2.86.
For the Team Creighton enters the NCAA Tournament with 82 sacrifice bunts on the season, third most in MVC history for a single-season. Not only does that figure rank tied for fifth-most nationally in 2011, but it is tied for 19th in NCAA history for any season. Creighton already owns the figures that rank fifth (95 in 2008), eighth (93 in 2007), and 20th (81 in 2006) in NCAA single-season history.
In the Valley The MVC’s current No. 7 RPI is the best it has been since 2007, when it was also the seventh-ranked conference by Warrennolan.com. In recent seasons, the No. 7 RPI league has garnered three bids in 2010 (Sun Belt), two bids in 2009 (Sun Belt), two bids in 2008 (West Coast) and two bids in 2007 (MVC). Impressively, those leagues have won a minimum of three NCAA Tournament games in each season, and a total of 17 NCAA games amongst those nine squads, with only one 0-2 showing.
Tournament Time Creighton had four men named to the All-Tournament Team at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Jonas Dufek (SP), Greg Hellhake (SP), Clay Cuno (OF), Trever Adams (OF). Adams, also an All-Tourney pick last year, became Creighton’s first player since Tyson Kimm in 1994 to earn multiple all-MVC Tournament Team honors in his career, while Dufek joined Pat Venditte (2007) as just the second Bluejay to be named Tournament MVP.
One to Four Bluejay right hander Jonas Dufek has turned into a strike out pitcher in his senior season on the mound, leading the Jays with 118 strike outs this season. In his career, Dufek has fanned 235 batters while walking just 65 total, including an impressive zero in his five innings of work at Evansville May 13. He has cut his ERA from the past two seasons in half, holding just a 2.17 ERA this season against a 4.33 his sophomore season and 4.92 his junior year.
Keep Going and Going Jimmy Swift leads the Creighton lineup with 168 consecutive starts in his career. The senior, who moved from the hot corner at third base to short stop this season, has played in and started every game since his sophomore season, holding a .288 lifetime batting average with 20 stolen bases. He is one of four Jays this season who has started every game for the club, joining Trever Adams, Alex Staehely and Chance Ross. Nick Judkins has started 57-of-58 games at first base this season.
We Came to Play The Bluejays put up a four-spot to open the game on Tuesday, May 10 against Nebraska, the first time this season they have scored four in the opening frame and the highest first inning output since last season against Portland (5-0 after one).
Adapting Creighton has played a majority of their games on the road this season, putting together the eighth best road record, as ranked by WarrenNolan.com. The Bluejays won nine of the last 12 on the road and are 18-8 in road games this season. The Jays also sit at #6 in the country in win percentage, winning 75.9% of their games this season
The Park that Adams Built... Creighton finished the regular season and MVC Tournament 14-4 in its 18 games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, including a 9-2 mark in night games at the venue. Trever Adams leads all players int he regular season with 20 hits and three homers, good for a .444 batting average, while Jimmy Swift tops everyone with five doubles and 13 RBI. Alex Staehely is the only player with two stolen bases. On the mound, Reese McGraw and Ty Blach are each 2-0, making them the only two players with multiple victories on the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha mound. • Creighton has won 31 straight home games when scoring eight or more runs, dating to a 12-10 loss on April 3, 2007. • Creighton has won 51 straight home games when allowing 0 or 1 run, including a 48-0 mark under Ed Servais, since losing 1-0 to Wichita State on April 19, 2002. • Creighton has outscored foes 11-0 in the first inning of the 12 games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, and 25-6 in the seventh inning and later. Creighton is 14-1 when scoring three or more runs, but 0-3 when scoring two runs or less.
On the Loose Creighton’s third baseman Chance Ross was cut loose on the base-paths at Evansville, stealing two bases on Friday and two more on Saturday. It marks the second time this season the junior has picked up two stolen bases in three games, stealing a pair against both North Dakota State and Portland. He has 12 stolen bases on the season, two behind Trever Adams for the most on the team.
Stranded Before stringing together four consecutive two-out singles to score twice in the ninth inning of Tuesday, May 17th 4-2 win at Iowa, Creighton had not scored in the ninth inning since April 23rd, a span of 13 games. By comparison, Creighton was 2-for-27 in two-out situations against Evansville last weekend.
One of a Kind Trever Adams is the only player with two seasons of 12 or more homers under Ed Servais. He’s also the only player under Servais with multiple seasons of 74 or more hits, to hit over .350 in two different seasons and to own more than 120 total bases more than once. He is also the first player with two seasons of 53 or more RBI as well.
Our Own Rick Vaughn Kurt Spomer owns a 1.93 ERA in 46.2 innings of work this season. He is currently the fourth reliever under Ed Seravis to own 40 or more innings and a ERA of 2.25 or better. Each of the other three times it has happened (Brandon Bird in 2005 and both Pat Venditte and Andy Masten in 2007), the Jays have reached the NCAA Tournament and won either the MVC regular-season or tournament title. Along those same lines, Spomer’s 13 saves are the most by a Bluejay since Masten had a school-record 16 saves in 2007. Bird added 11 saves in 2005.
CPR Creighton has found a closer in walk-on Kurt Spomer. The junior from Honey Creek, Iowa leads the team with seven saves this season, nearly perfect in 13-15 save opportunities. The right-hander holds a 1.61 ERA when coming out of the bullpen this season, working 44.2 innings in 32 appearances. 30 of the 32 appearances have been at least 1.0 innings of work.
Just Another Day’s Work Bluejay outfielder Trever Adams has now reached safely in 42 consecutive games, a streak that leads the MVC. He has also gotten a hit in 49 of his last 53 games, including 25 multi hit games in that stretch. Below is a list of the longest consecutive games reached streaks by a Bluejay since 1999.
42 Trever Adams - March 16, 2011 - Present 38 Vince Pietro - March 6 - April 26, 2000 (snapped by Illinois State) 38 Darin Ruf - Feb. 24 - May 4, 2007 (snapped by SIU) 33 Robbie Knight - March 11-May 3, 2009 (snapped by Missouri State) 30 Tony Roth - April 23, 2004 - March 7, 2005 (snapped by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi)
Worth Noting Creighton has put together an impressive 44-14 record this season, with four wins over New Mexico, two wins over Illinois State and a victory over Kansas State, all of which were NCAA Tournament teams following the 2010 season (UNM and KSU are 2011 NCAA Tournament teams.) Creighton also has a 15-6 record in Valley play this season, winning the MVC regular season. The Jays had moved up in RPI to a season high 38 following the weekend sweep at Indina State. Creighton is still the highest in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. Below is where the MVC teams sit as of 5/31/11. Creighton 29 Illinois State 61 Missouri State 62 Wichita State 71 Evansville 126 Southern Illinois 159 Indiana State 165 Bradley 213
Through the Order Creighton’s eight and nine-hole hitters in the Saturday, April 30 game, Scott Thornburg and Joey Bowens, combined for five hits on the night, each scoring two runs and knocking in at least one RBI (Bowens with two). It marked the first time those two spots in the line-up have both had two hits since March 16, when they Jays played at Air Force.
Take ‘em to the Casino Bluejay pitchers Jonas Dufek and Ty Blach each picked up their seventh win of the season in the weekend sweep of Bradley. It marks the first time since 2008 that Creighton has had two pitchers aith 7+ wins in a season. Pat Venditte (9-3) and Jeremy Hauer (8-2) both did it that season. Dufek also won again at Wichita State on May 7, becoming the first Bluejay this season to reach eight wins. Blach picked up his eighth win in a pre-determined 2.0 innings on Tuesday, May 10 against Nebraska.
Doctor, Doctor Creighton’s future med-school student, Joey Bowens, went a perfect 3-for-3 in the 10-1 win over Bradley on April 30. The junior has played in 34 games, starting 18 in the outfield. Bowens has a career high of four hits in a single game (earlieer this season against SDSU), but this was the first time the Libertyville, Ill., native had exactly three on the night.
A Little Fun The Bluejays had a little fun at the expense of sophomore Jordan Makovicka following the 5-3 win over Kansas on April 26. After Makovicka knocked a two-RBI single in the eighth to give the Jays the win, his Bluejay teammates gave him a shaving cream pie in the face while he was talking to reporters. The two RBI were just the second and third for Makovicka on the season, and the single came in his 16th at-bat of the year. Less than a week later, Makovicka returned the favor, pie-ing Joey Bowens after his 3-for-3 night at the plate and stellar defense in the 10-1 win over Bradley on April 30.
Anniversary The 1991 season marks the 20-year anniversary of Creighton’s 1991 College World Series team. The group was honored by Creighton April 22-24 and will be honored again in June during the 2011 College World Series. Top names on that squad include head coach Jim Hendry (current GM Of the Chicago Cubs), and future first-round draft picks Scott Stahoviak, Chad McConnell and Alan Benes. The Bluejays went 2-2 in 1991, becoming the first school from Nebraska to reach as well as win games in the CWS. Creighton’s two wins are twice as many as all other schools from the state of Nebraska combined in CWS action.
In the Polls - 4/18/11 The Bluejays have put together one of the best starts in school history and cracked the top-30 poll on April 18, 2011. The Jays were ranked at #28 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s magazine, released on Monday, April 18. The last time the Jays were ranked in the poll was May 28, 2007, when the Jays won the MVC Tournament and jumped into the #22 spot after not previously being ranked. Creighton was #29 in the Baseball Writers Poll and receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll. After a 1-3 week the following week, Creighton dropped out of both polls. They are now receiving votes in both the NCBWA and USA Today/ESPN Poll.
Revolving Door Jordan Makovicka put his name in a hat for the starting left fielder on Tuesday against Kansas on April 26 and made a pretty good case for himself. The sophomore drove in the game winning run on a single in the eighth. He now is hitting .167 when patrolling left field. Seven different Bluejays have seen time in left field this season, as Creighton continues to try and find the best lineup. Taking most of the games has been Joey Bowens, who has played 43 games in left, hitting .218 when in the outfield. No other Jay has played in more than 22 games in left, with Michael Blatchford (.200) leading the way with 22 games in left. Clay Cuno has now started four games in left field, with a .426 average, while Creighton has also thrown catcher Anthony Bemboom in left field to keep his bat in the order. The junior is hitting .235 when in left and .238 when catching.
Cutting it Close Creighton has played in 23 one-run games this season, tallying an impressive 17-6 record in those contests. Five of the Bluejays’ 14 losses has been by more than three runs (the 11-4 BYU loss on March 22, and at Wichita State, 8-0 on May 6, 12-3 on May 8 and 10-1 at Evansville on May 15, and the 10-3 loss in the MVC Tournament to Missouri State on May 25.)
Under the Stars The Bluejays are 10-4 when playing at night this season. Three of Creighton’s wins have been come from behind, as the Bluejays had a come from behind win against SIU on Friday, 4/22 and put up two runs in the eighth to defeat Kansas on April 26. and two runs in the ninth to down Iowa 5-3 on May 17 The three losses, 6:30 and later start times, have been at the hands of Nebraska and Wichita State. The Jays lost game one 8-5 and gave up two unearned runs in the second to fall 2-1against the Huskers earlier this season and were shut out 8-0 against Wichita State on Friday, May 6. With the new facility, Creighton will play three more regular season games this season with a start time after 6:00 pm central time (just one more at home). The Jays were 10-7 in night games last season.
Decades With 14 homers and 13 stolen bases this year, Trever Adams is the only player in the MVC this season with 10 or more homers and 10 or more stolen bases. In the past three seasons, the only other Valley players with at least 14 homers and 13 steals in the same season was Evansville’s Cody Fick (19 HR/12 SB) in 2010.
Home or Away The Jays are one of four Missouri Valley teams that holds a winning record both at home and on the road. Creighton is 23-5 at home and 18-8 on the road this season. The Jays also hold the distinction of having a winning record at home and on the road in Valley play, going 7-2 at home and 8-4 on the road. The road record is a figure that no doube contributed to Creighton’s RPI finish of 37 at the end of the regular season. • The 18 road wins were the most by any team in the nation with an RBI of 37 or better and the 26 true road games tied Cal State Fullerton for most in the country by any top-37 club.
Pitching Machine Jack VanLeur has 113 career appearances entering this weekend and has become just the third player in Creighton history to pitch in 100 games with his appearance against SIU on April 24, joining the ranks of Pat Venditte (110) and Scott Reese (123).
Fanning Figures Going into the series with Southern Illinois, the Bluejays had struck out 213 times as a team. In the highest total in three games all season, Creighton batters struck out 32 times on the weekend, just under a sixth of the previous season total. The starting three Saluki pitchers all had career high strike out numbers against the Jays, as they struck out 11 times both Friday and Saturday and 10 on Sunday.
If You Build It... They Will Come Creighton’s new home, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, has boosted the average attendance of the Jays this season considerably (and the winning ways of the Jays doesn’t hurt either!) Creighton now sits in 7th in home attendance, averaging 4,984 per game. Below is the top 20 home averages this season (prior to conference tournaments): 1 LSU 400,295 38 10,534 2 Mississippi 261,006 32 8,156 3 Arkansas 245,907 31 7,932 4 S. Carolina 258,651 35 7,390 5 Texas 222,270 34 6,537 6 Mississippi St. 189,218 31 6,103 7 Creighton 109,665 22 4,984 8 Florida St. 152,096 32 4,753 9 Clemson 137,837 32 4,307 10 TCU 139,170 33 4,217 11 Alabama 128,854 33 3,904 12 Texas A&M 136,148 35 3,889 13 Florida 134,582 35 3,845 14 Rice 112,544 32 3,517 15 Southern Miss. 90,884 26 3,495 16 Wichita State 110,723 32 3,460 17 Louisiana 92,784 28 3,313 18 Arizona St. 86,522 27 3,204 19 Hawaii 111,343 35 3,181 20 Virginia 95,356 32 2,980
Major League Numbers There were 12 Major League Baseball games the night of April 19. The Creighton-Nebraska crowd of 22,197 was larger than six of them, and also larger than the MLB average crowd of 22,072. 45,408 Milwaukee at Philadelphia 41,596 Atlanta at Los Angeles (NL) 30,320 San Francisco at Colorado 27,032 Houston at New York (NL) 25,250 New York (AL) at Toronto 22,450 Los Angeles (AL) at Texas -- 22,197 Nebraska at Creighton -- 13,731 Chicago (AL) at Tampa Bay 12,994 Arizona at Cincinnati 12,411 Detroit at Seattle 12,045 Minnesota at Baltimore 11,118 Pittsburgh at Florida 10,506 Cleveland at Kansas City
Record Setting Creighton’s record after 33 games was 26-7, matching the best record after 33 games in school history. Also starting 26-7 after 33 games were both the 2000 and 2005 teams that eventually would qualify for the NCAA Regionals. The 2000 team lost its 34th game (also against Nebraska), while the 2005 club is the program’s only squad to start 27-7.
A New Place to Call Home Tuesday, April 19th’s opening game against Nebraska was the first for the Bluejays in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, their new home for games. Creighton had a great deal of success playing at the CU Sports Complex, racking up a .770 winning percentage under Ed Servais in his tenure. When opening the CU Sports Complex, the Jays won the first 14 games at the stadium, including defeating Mount Marty 8-7 in the opener and 16-3 in game two. That season, the Jays finished 23-6 overall at home, losing the last six straight. Creighton fell to Nebraska 2-1 in the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha opener, starting 0-1 in the new complex. The Jays won just one-of-three against SIU, but defeated Kansas State on April 26 and swept Bradley the last weekend of May to move their current record in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha to 9-3 with the win over Nebraska.
Two-for-Two The Bluejays swept the MVC Player/Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of April 18, with Trever Adams and Kurt Spomer earning the honors. Adams continued to lead the Bluejay offense, going 7-for-14 from the plate during that week. The senior right fielder improved his overall batting average to .397, driving out two doubles and two home runs on the week, both in the sweep at Indiana State. Adams finished the week hitting .500, with a slugging percentage of 1.071 and an on-base percentage of .611. Adams was intentionally walked twice on the week, both against Big 12 power Kansas State. He was also walked twice in the 6-5 win on Sunday over Indiana State, both after his solo home run and one on four pitches. Adams finished the day on Saturday (the 9-5 win) going 3-for-4 from the plate, driving in four and scoring once. He finished the week with five runs scored, scoring in every game last week and twice in the 6-5 Sunday win. In Kurt Spomer’s last eight appearances to that date, the junior from Honey Creek, Iowa, has some sort of a decision in each, picking up three wins, four saves and one loss. In action last week, Spomer picked up a win over Kansas State, a win over Indiana State (4/17) and a save at Indiana State (4/16). In 4.1 innings of work, the right hander gave up just two hits, no runs, walked two and struck out four. Spomer got out of a jam in the eighth inning of Sunday’s win, coming in with a tie ball game, getting two outs and then striking out two and forcing a ground ball in the ninth to earn the win.
Going Streaking Trever Adams entered the weekend series with SIU with an 18-game hitting streak. In that time, he was 32-for-70 (.457) with seven homers and 32 RBI. Adams owned at least one hit in 28 of the last 29 games, and during those 29 games he was 52-for-112 (.464) with 10 homers and 40 RBI. Here are Creighton’s longest hitting streaks under Ed Servais: 28 – Tony Roth, April 23, 2004 - March 1, 2005 23 – Elliot Soto, March 24 - April 29, 2009 19 – Zach Daeges, May 8, 2004 - March 1, 2005 18 - Trever Adams, March 16, 2011 - April 24, 2011 16 - Trever Adams, April 23 - May 20, 2011 16 – Robbie Knight, March 11 - April 5, 2009 15 – Darin Ruf, April 12 - May 3, 2008 15 – Chris Gradoville, April 20 - May 15, 2007
Walk-Off Winners Creighton won in “walk-off” fashion in three of the four home games from April 3-April 22. Creighton beat Kansas State 7-6 on a walk-off walk by Joey Bowens in the final game at the CU Sports Complex. Before that, Trever Adams had a walk-off single to score Michael Mutcheson and give the Jays a 4-3 win over Portland on April 3rd. The Jays also defeated SIU on April 22 in the bottom of the 10th, putting up a run to win the game on a Chance Ross blooper over the short stop’s head, scoring Staehely from third base.
Touch Em All The Bluejays hit eight home runs in the series sweep at Indiana State on April 15-17, getting two each from Nick Judkins, Trever Adams and Anthony Bemboom, with Jimmy Swift and Mike Gerber each adding solo shots on the weekend. The Jays improved their slugging percentage 15 points on the weekend, moving from .410 as a team to .425. The Jays added four doubles to the eight home runs to help improve the percentage. Creighton moved from a tie for 5th in the Valley in slugging percentage to second over the weekend. Adams is now the sole leader in the slugging percentage in the Valley, holding a .763 percentage, nearly 100 points higher than Cody Fick of Evansville, who has a .676 average and is in second place.
Running Rampant Ed Servais has turned Creighton loose on the basepaths so far this season. Creighton has stolen 59 bases, eclipsing its entire stolen base total from 2010 and exceeding the 38 swipes in 2009. Creighton’s 73.3 success rate on the basepaths this season (66-90) is the best mark in any season so far under Servais.
A First for Everything Creighton had eight homers in the series sweep at Indiana State, hitting three each on Friday and Sunday and two dingers on Saturday. The Jays entered the weekend with multiple homers in just two of its first 29 games, and hadn’t had two or more homers in three straight games since March 7-8, 2009. Creighton has never had four straight games with two or more homers under Ed Servais.
Finding a Gap With 22 doubles on the season, Alex Staehely currently leads the MVC in the category in the MVC, and leads the Bluejays this season. Staehely’s double output has been slowed a little, as he has went ten games without a double dating from April 3 to April 23. He did hit a double in the April 24 loss to Southern Illinois. The sophomore had seven hits in the span, accompanied by four sacrifice bunts. Staehely did pick up his second home run of the season in the 5-3 win over Kansas, marking back-to-back games with extra base hits. He had a double and home run in the 7-5 win over Wichita State on May 7.
Catch Ya Later Creighton left 10 runners on base in the rubber match between CU and Illinois State on Sunday, April 10 in Normal, Ill., pushing the total to 26 on the weekend. The Jays outscored the Redbirds 18-12, but with the extra runners driven in it could have helped Creighton’s cause. The Jays left the bases loaded three times in the series.
Check Him Out • Trever Adams’ 87 hits are the most by a Bluejay since 1991 when Ryan Gripp (92) and Vince Pietro (90) hit more. • Trever Adams entered the MVC Tournament hitting .399. The last Creighton player to hit better than .395 with 125 or more at-bats was Chad McConnell, who hit .400 in 1992. • Trever Adams’ 14 homers lead the MVC and are the most by a Bluejay in one season since Ryan Gripp (25) and Peyton Lewis (19) in 1999. • Trever Adams is hitting .374 in his career entering the NCAA Tournament, fifth-best in school history. The last player to finish a career better than .360 was Scott Stahoviak, who hit a school-record .418 from 1989-91 en route to National Player of the Year accolades in his junior campaign. • Through games of May 15th, Trever Adams was one of five players to rank in the top-50 nationally in batting average, home runs and RBI. He was also the only player in the country hitting .380 or better with at least 12 homers, 52 RBI and 10 stolen bases. With numbers like these, Adams seems likely to become the first Bluejay outfielder to be named first-team all-MVC since Chris Hinrichs in 2000.