OMAHA, Neb. - Nebraska scored five runs in the top of the first inning and bolted to a 9-1 lead before hanging on to defeat Creighton, 12-9, before 10,418 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Tuesday evening.
Nebraska earned the season split with the Jays, while improving to 24-26 on the year. Creighton dropped to 28-15 with the defeat after picking up a 5-3 win over the Huskers on April 26th.
Down 9-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning, Creighton mounted a seven run rally over the next two frames to make it a game. Junior Federico Castagnini got the Jays going with a one-out infield single to short. Sophomore Jake Peter followed with a walk, the freshman Reagan Fowler earned a free pass to load the bases with two down. Senior Brennan Murphy drew the third walk of the frame for Creighton, forcing Castagnini home. Fellow senior Michael Blatchford followed with another walk to make it 9-3. Ironically the Jays' first run also came on a bases loaded walk to junior Jerry Mitchell in the second inning.
Still in the fifth, freshman Ryan Fitzgerald lofted a double off the glove of a sliding attempt by Nebraska's Chad Christensen to chase home Fowler and Murphy. Blatchford, however, was cut down at the plate on a close call to send the game to the sixth with the Huskers up, 9-5.
The Jays' rally continued in the sixth as junior Brad McKewon drew the first free pass of the frame with one out, then Castagnini launched his first home run as Bluejay over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 9-7. With two down, senior Alex Staehely worked another walk, then Fowler lifted a single into left. Murphy and Blatchford followed with back-to-back walks, forcing home Staehely to bring the Jays within a run at 9-8.
Nebraska skipper Darin Erstad went to closer Dylan Vogt with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, and Vogt got Fitzgerald to fly out to right to end the threat.
The Huskers answered Creighton's rally with two runs in the seventh and one in the ninth, while Vogt limited the Jays to an unearned run in the eight on a leadoff triple by Peter and a two-out error.
Bluejay starter Matt Warren (2-3) allowed seven runs (four earned) in two innings to pick up the loss. Nebraska's Tyler Neiderklein (1-1) was credited with the win after throwing a predetermined two innings of work, allowing one run on two hits. Josh Roeder's perfect ninth inning earned him his fourth save.
Offensively the Jays were led by two hits from Castagnini, he finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Creighton will close out the regular season with a three-game series at home against Missouri State beginning Thursday, May 16 at 12:30 p.m.