Baseball - Updated Game Notes
Creighton (25-28) vs. Southern Illinois (31-27)
Game 4 - Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship
May 26, 2012
its offensive outburst with a 10-3 win over Illinois State in the semifinal
game on Thursday, pushing the Bluejays to their second straight MVC Tournament
final, the fifth in Ed Servais' nine
seasons at the helm of Bluejay baseball.
Creighton has 39 hits in the three games in Springfield, holding a .361
batting average and scoring 26 runs.
Leading the charge offensively is Mike
Gerberwho is hitting .583 with a .917 slugging percentage in the three
starts. Gerber also has six RBI in the
tournament. The Bluejay pitching staff
has a 1.67 ERA in the MVC Tournament, holding opponents to a .196 average
against. Saturday's starter - Ty Blach- threw a one-hit complete
game shutout in the tournament opener against Indiana State, and is one of
three Jays (Mark Winkelmanand Chase Webb) who enter the finals with a
flawless 0.00 ERA in tournament play.
start the MVC Tournament 3-0 for the first time since the 2009 season. Creighton has started the MVC Tournament 3-0 just
twice now under Ed Servais,
accomplishing it in 2009 and now in 2012.
The Jays started last year 1-1 and had to battle back through the losers
bracket to win the schools second MVC Tournament title (also in 2007).
has won its last seven MVC Tournament games dating to last season. A win on
Saturday will make the Bluejays the first club to win eight straight MVC Tournament
contests since Wichita State won nine in a row, spanning the 1998-2000
Bluejays are looking to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Missouri Valley
Conference Tournament. The lowest seed
to win the tournament was No. 6 Illinois State in 1994.
A Game Against the Salukis The Bluejays
look to avenge a series sweep from earlier this season, in which the Salukis
won the series opener 4-0, before ousting Creighton 7-6 and 6-5 in the final
two games of the series. Creighton holds
a 61-57 overall lead against the Salukis, with their last win coming in game
two of the MVC Tournament last season, a winner's bracket game (a 5-0 shutout
behind Greg Hellhake's complete game).
In the Tournament Creighton trails
Southern Illinois 5-11 in Missouri Valley Conference Tournament games, but has
won the last two meetings (5-0 last season behind Greg Hellhake's complete game
and 5-1 to open the tournament in 2009).
SIU opened the tournament series winning the first five meetings from
Welcome Back Creighton
has many members of this years team that made appearances in the 2011 MVC
Tournament Championship team. But Scott Thornburg, Kurt Spomerand Brandon
Koenigstein mark the only members of this year's team that were also part
of the 2009 team that made it to the MVC Tournament finals. In the 2009 Championship game, Thornburg was
the lone current team member that played, picking up an RBI and a walk. He spent time as DH in two of the four
tournament games that season.
Koenigstein did make a start in the 2009 tournament, throwing a 7.0
inning no-hitter against Wichita State in the second game of the tournament.
Today's Bluejay Starter *
Ty Blachnow leads the Bluejays in career earned run average, holding
a 2.67 ERA through his first three seasons at Creighton. That is just one-hundredth better than Rick
Heiserman's 2.68 career ERA.
* Blach leads the nation with 19 starts this season. He has tossed 109.1 innings, currently
sitting eighth on the Creighton single-season charts for innings in a season.
* Blach owns a 19-11 overall record in his first three seasons at Creighton,
good for a .633 winning percentage on the mound.
* The southpaw has thrown three complete games this season, the lone three for
the Bluejays this season.
* In Blach's last four starts, 26.0 innings, he
is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has
surrendered just 10 hits and walked three batters.
* Blach has allowed zero or one earned
run in 12 of his 19 starts this season and 25 of 48 career starts as a Bluejay.
* Blach became the first Bluejay to
throw a one-hitter since Chris Appuhn did on April 27, 2003, against Wichita
* Blach did not have a single win in MVC regular season play after finishing
4-1 in the conference in 2011.
While in Springfield Creighton
has now won the opening game all three tournaments they have played in
Springfield. The Jays won the opener in
2004 (also defeating Indiana State) before dropping the next two games, and won
the opener in 2007 en route to the programs first MVC Tournament title. Overall, the Bluejays are 8-3 in tournament
games played in Springfield, Mo.
Under Servais Creighton is now 8-1 in opening round games under Ed Servaisand 16-14 all-time in MVC
Tournament openers. The Bluejays hold a
24-13 overall record under Servais in the Valley Tournament. The Bluejays advance to the MVC Tournament
Title game for the fifth time in Servais' nine seasons at Creighton, also
advancing tin 2005 (lost 10-3 to Wichita State), 2007 (beat Wichita State 10-9
in 12-innings), 2009 (lost to Wichita State 4-2) and 2011 (beat Wichita State
Servais has coached Creighton to its only two MVC Tournament titles in program
- Servais can join some select company with
a tournament title on Saturday. The only
other active Valley coach with more than two MVC Tournament titles is Gene
Stephenson, who has 17 tourney titles.
Tale of Two Seasons Chance Rossand Nick Judkinscame into the tournament
with the two highest Creighton batting averages, and have been productive through
the tournament with a .308 and .462 average, respectively. The duo also both holds 30 runs batted in
this season, although they have come in spurts for the two. In the first 27 games of the season, Ross had
just six runs driven in, exploding for 24 RBI in the last 26 games. Judkins is nearly the exact opposite, driving
in 20 in the first half of the season and 10 in the last 26 games.
Getting Hot at the Right Time
The Bluejays came into the MVC Tournament hitting .239 collectively as a team,
flirting with ending the season with a program low batting average (which is just
10 points higher than the program lowest average, .229 set in 1971) but has
turned things around drastically.
Creighton is now hitting .247 as a team, spiked by a team .361 average
in the three games in Springfield. Mike Gerberis hitting .583 in the
tournament with a .917 slugging percentage.
Brennan Murphyhas improved
his batting average 20 points in the three games, improving to .242 with his
Pants Up Baseball is
a game of superstitions and the Bluejay baseball team is no different. The team always wears its pant legs down, but
when they came out for the Illinois State game, April 28, every member of the
team had their pant legs up. Since that
day, Creighton is 10-7 overall, hitting .273 as a team. Nick
Judkins (.324), Chance Ross(.306)
and Brennan Murphy(.302) are all
hitting above .300, with Ross picking up a team-leading 19 RBI in the last 17
What's in a Win? * Creighton
is seeking its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, and fourth under the direction of Ed
Servais (also 2005, 2007 and 2011). A title game triumph would secure
Creighton's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances since 1999 &
*Creighton is seeking to become the
first MVC team to win back-to-back tournament titles since Wichita State won in
both 2008 & 2009. The last time a school other than WSU won consecutive
tournament titles was 1996 & 1997, when Keith Guttin led Missouri State to
* With a title game victory, Creighton will have won the MVC Tournament in
baseball, men's basketball and men's soccer in the same academic year. The only other time that happened came in
2006-07, which was also accomplished by Creighton.
* With a title game victory, Creighton will be the only team in MVC history to
win the league tournament in men's basketball, women's basketball and baseball
in the same spring.
In the Last 10 Creighton
has used the same 10 batters in the last 10 games, just switching the order up
a tad. Brennan Murphyleads all batters in that time span with a .400
average. He has 12 hits and six walks
(overall on the season, Murphy has 32 hits and 12 walks - showing his output in
the last 10 games has been incredible).
The Bluejays are hitting .298 as a team in the last 10 games with a .384
The Creighton pitching staff holds a combined 3.10 ERA in the last 10 games,
with Ty Blachholding a 2-0 mark and
flawless 0.00 ERA. He has not
surrendered a run in the 25.0 innings he has pitched in three straight starts,
tossing a pair of complete game shutouts and holding opponents to a .110
Sub-Par? Both No. 8 Creighton and No. 6 Southern Illinois
enter the MVC Tournament Title Game with a below .500 MVC mark in the
regular-season. The only previous MVC Tournament
champion with a sub -.500 MVC record in the regular-season was the 1994
Illinois State club that won the title after a sixth-place, 8-12 league finish.
In the last 10 years, every MVC Tournament champion has been a top-three seed.
The last time that didn't happen was in 2001, when fifth-seeded Northern Iowa
(coached by Rick Heller) won its lone title with an improbable 4-0 tournament
Changing it Up Head coach Ed Servaisreally switched the batting
order up in the first game of the MVC Tournament. The Bluejays had used the same lineup in the
final nine regular season games before Servais flipped things around in the
opener. And it has paid off. Nick
Judkins is hitting .368 this year while hitting second, while Chance Rosshits .294 with nine RBI in
our games in the No. 3 hole.
How About These Numbers Through three MVC
Tournament games, Creighton has only used nine hitters, and every single man
has reached base in all three games.
Thanks to 39 hits, 10 hit-by-pitch and nine walks, all nine men to bat
have reached at least five times, helping the team to a .457 on-base percentage
and .361 batting average. Creighton has out-hit the opposition 39-19 in
Springfield this week, outscoring foes 26-8 in those contests
Take Your Pick Pick your stat when
it comes down to why Creighton's offense has exploded this week. The Jays are
hitting .414 vs. left-handed pitching, .422 with runners in scoring position,
.424 with runners on base, .368 with two outs and own 14 two-out RBI in its
last three wins.
Bases Full of Jays In Creighton's last
12 games, the Jays are hitting 10-for-20 with the bases loaded. In that same
span, Bluejay opponents are 0-for-3 at the plate with the bases loaded. The
12-game stretch has seen CU outscore foes 10-2 in the first two innings of
games, and 21-2 in the fifth inning.
Been Here Before Creighton has used
16 different players to compile its 3-0 record entering Saturday. Thirteen of
those men played on last year's team that won the MVC regular-season and
tournament title, all but Brennan Murphy, Jake Peter and Shane Liska.
Getting the Leadoff Man On Creighton had its leadoff hitter reach in three innings on Thursday,
with one of those men coming around to score. For the tournament, CU's leadoff
man has reached 10 times in26 innings, scoring six times.
Up and Down the Lineup The bottom of the
order did much of Creighton's damage on Thursday vs. Illinois State, as Scott Thornburg tied his career-high
with three hits, and Jake Peter had
a career-best four hits. It was the first time in Peter's young career he had
more than two hits.
In the first two games, the seven and eight spots (which is where Thornburg and
Peter were hitting) had combined for just three hits. Brad McKewonand Nick Judkinshave combined for nine
hits in the three games in the MVC Tournament as the one and two-hole hitters.
The Bluejays outhit the Sycamores 10-1 in the first round win on Tuesday and
turned around to put up 16 hits (tying a season high) against Illinois State on
Wednesday. The streak continued on
Thursday, when Creighton used 13 hits in the 10-3 win to eliminate Illinois
State. It now marks the fifth time in
the last six games the Bluejays have picked up double-digit hits in a
game. They have accomplished that feat 19
times this season.
However, Creighton picked up double-digit hits just six times in the 20 MVC
regular-season games this 2012 season.
Lights Out Lefties The Bluejay
starting lineup has been mixed between left and right handed batters all
season, but Wednesday against the Redbirds the lefties led the way. Nick
Judkins, Anthony Bemboom, Mike Gerber, Jake Peterand Brennan Murphycombined for 12 of Creighton's 16 hits on the day
for the Jays. Overall, the lefties were
12-21 from the plate on Wednesday, with a double, a triple and a home run.
In the tournament, 17 of Creighton's 26 hits have come from batters on the left
side of the plate.
More than You Creighton is 18-4 when out-hitting its opponent this
season, and 16-3 when owning 10 hits or more in a game. CU's 16 hits against
Illinois State on Wednesday tied a season-high, also done vs. Nebraska (5/8)
and vs. North Dakota (3/17).
How's This, For Starters?
starting pitching has thrown well in the past 12 games, allowing just 13 earned
runs and owning a 1.87 ERA in 62.2 frames of those starts. CU's starters
have allowed no earned runs in six of those contests, and just one run in three
Creighton's bullpen has thrown just 96 pitches this week in Springfield, with Mark Winkelmanthe lone reliever to
toss more than 1.0 innings this week (finished the win on Thursday with 2.0
innings of work, striking out three and not surrendering a hit). Helping to
keep CU's bullpen away has been strong performances by starters Ty Blach, Shane Liska and Erik
Mattingly. All three starters have tied
their longest career appearance in their respective tournament starts.
Boom Boom Bemboom Anthony Bemboom
owns three triples in Creighton's last 12 games, giving him a team-best four
three-baggers this season. The last Bluejay with more than four triples in a
season was Andrew Small in 2007. It was Small who had the walk-off hit in the
12th inning that helped Creighton claim the 2007 MVC Tournament
title at Hammons Field in Springfield.
Playing With A Lead
is 21-9 this year when scoring first, compared to a 4-19 mark when the
opposition scores first. Creighton has drawn first blood in each of its three
MVC Tournament games this year, and won its last six Valley Tourney games when
scoring first. The Bluejays scored twice
in the first inning of Thursday's win over Illinois State, giving Creighton 37
runs in the opening inning this season.
Captain Long Ball Mike Gerber hit the first
home run in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history last year, and is currently
leading the Jays with four homers this spring after yesterday's high-arching
round-tripper. The last Bluejay sophomore before Gerber to lead CU in
round-trippers was Darin Ruf (8) in 2007, the same year the Jays won the MVC
Tournament in Springfield.
The Drought is Over The Bluejays
hit a pair of home runs in the 11-5 win over Illinois State on Wednesday, the
third time this season they have hit multiple home runs in a single game - also
against North Dakota (3/17) and Southern Illinois (4/22). Mike
Gerber hit his team-leading fourth home run in the third inning and Chance Rossdrove out a three-run shot
in the seventh.
The home runs mark the first for the Bluejays since May 5 when Chance Rossled off the game at Bradley
with a solo home run. Gerber hit his
first home run in over a month, as his last one came at SIU (4/22).
Against the Southpaw Creighton
has struggled against the left handed pitchers this season, but seeing them in
the first two games of the MVC Tournament you would never guess it. The Bluejays are now 8-12 against left handed
starters this season, putting up 12 combined runs in the first two games of the
MVC Tournament against southpaw starting pitchers.
Ed Servais Baseball Creighton
successfully dropped three sacrifice bunts in the win on Wednesday, all three
which advanced runners to second base.
All three runners eventually came around to score. Ed
Servais' teams have ranked among the best in the nation in sacrifice bunts
since he has been at the helm of Bluejay baseball. The team has 70 this season, led by Alex Staehely's 11 and Anthony Bemboom's 10.
Entering the 2012 tournament, Creighton had thrown 4 shutouts all-time in MVC
Tournament play. Each time CU threw a shutout, it would go on to reach the MVC
Tournament championship game. Ty Blachopened the 2012 tournament
with a 5-0 shutout win over No. 1 seed Indiana State.
2005 - CU 6, UE 0 (Wordekemper 5 H in 7 IP, Reese 2 IP)
2007* - CU 2, BU 0 (Moore 2 H in 8 IP, Masten 1 IP)
2009 - Cu 11, WSU 0 (Koenigstein no-hitter)
2011* - CU 5, SIU 0 (Hellhake 2-hitter)
2012 - CU 5, ISU 0 (Blach 1-hitter)
*won tournament title
became the fourth team in MVC Tournament history in Tuesday's win to allow zero
or one hit in a game, joining Southern Illinois (1977), Missouri State (2002)
and Creighton (2009). Each of those first three teams played in the MVC
On the Staff The Creighton pitching staff came into the 2012 season
full of expectations and highly touted.
With a number of bullpen arms back as well as starting pitcher Ty Blach, the staff holds a 3.40
combined ERA. In addition to Blach's
complete game, one-hitter against Indiana State yesterday, the staff also has Brandon Koenigstein who threw a
no-hitter against Wichita State in 2009 and Erik Mattinglywho started the game against Indiana State earlier
this season with 9.0 innings of no-hit baseball.
Meet the Players
* Nick Judkins is 6-for-13 in the MVC Tournament, an improvement that
coincided with him returning to the No. 2 spot in the line-up for the first
time since April 13th. CU is now 7-2 when he bats second in the order this
year, and was 41-15 with him hitting second last year, when he tied a Creighton
and MVC record with 22 sacrifice bunts.
Murphy has been one of Creighton's top hitters as of late, hitting .461 in
his last nine games, reaching safely in each game for a career best. Murphy
also leads the team with six walks in that time span, helping to lead to his
five runs scored and .563 on base percentage.
* Murphy is hitting .500 at the MVC Tournament so far, scoring four times.
Staehely had one sacrifice bunt in each of CU's first two games this week.
It was his 35th and 36th career sacrifice bunts, second-most in MVC
history behind former Bluejay Vince Pietro.
Gerber had back-to-back three RBI games in the wins on Wednesday and
Thursday, marking the second and third times this season he has driven in three
in a single game (also against South Dakota State 4/15). He leads all Bluejays with 11 multi-RBI games
* The 4-5 day from the plate Wednesday
for Mike Gerberalso gave him his
first four-hit game of his career, as he had previously had three hits in a
game four different times, most recently against Nebraska on May 8, 2012.
Judkins' first-inning single on Thursday gives him a season-high hitting
streak of five straight games. He had
previously owned five different four-game hitting streaks this season.
Moving on Up
Creighton is currently hitting .247 as a team, its highest mark since March
25th. The Jays are hitting .304 in their last 11 games with 19 sacrifice bunts
and just four double plays in that span.
No Muffed Balls
had played three straight errorless games for the first time all season before
an errant throw in the 10-3 win on Thursday.
Creighton had two streaks of error-free baseball last season, putting
together four-straight games from April 2-April 8 and then three-straight to
close out the MVC Tournament and open NCAA play (May 27-June 3).
went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday vs. Illinois State
after going 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday vs. Indiana
State. Those six hits match its most
hits with RISP since going 6-for-17 vs. North Dakota on March 17th.
Creighton is 9-0 this year when it has at least six hits with runners in
scoring position, and 19-2 since the start of the 2010 season.
Push them In
After not scoring more than eight runs in any MVC game all year, and never
scoring more than 12 runs in any MVC series all year, Creighton's offense
exploded for 11 runs on Wednesday.
Creighton improved to 6-0 this year when scoring in double-digits
following the 10-3 win on Thursday over Illinois State, and has won 21 straight
(since 3/7/10) when scoring in double-figures.
Creighton is now 18-4 when scoring five or more runs this year, and 22-6
when scoring four or more runs this year.
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