OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton’s offense broke out of a recent slump with 12 hits, including six for extra bases, in a 9-4 victory over Evansville in Missouri Valley Conference action on a chilly Friday afternoon at the CU Sports Complex. The Bluejays snapped a four-game losing streak and moved to 26-15 overall and 9-7 in MVC play. Evansville dropped to 9-32 and 3-13.
The Bluejays got things going early, plating three runs in the bottom of the first to jump out to a 3-0 lead. After CU tallied another run in the second inning, Evansville pulled to within 4-3 with a three-run top of the fifth. However, the Jays answered with three of their own in the bottom half of the frame and cruised to the victory from there.
Starter Jeremy Hauer (7-2) picked up the win on the hill, allowing four runs in 7.2 innings of work, the longest outing for a Bluejay pitcher this season. Bob Lackovic came on to record the final four outs, allowing no hits while striking out two.
The Jays wasted no time getting on the scoreboard after Hauer set the Aces down in order to begin the game. Robbie Knight led off with a double and advanced to third on a Elliot Soto sacrifice bunt. Knight then crossed home on a double by Darin Ruf. Ruf extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his team-leading 13th two-bagger of the year.
Steve Winkelmann followed Ruf’s double with a well-placed triple down the right field line. Winkelmann then scored on an RBI groundout by Nick Nordgren to make it 3-0.
A leadoff walk to Joe Servais in the bottom of the second led to CU’s fourth run. Servais advanced to third on a perfectly-placed ball through the right side of the infield by Brett Mieras on a hit-and-run. Michael Lam then plated Servais on a ground ball fielder’s choice to the shortstop.
Hauer was brilliant early, as he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. After retiring his 13th straight batter to lead off the fifth, Evansville finally solved the CU southpaw. A double by Andy Smith broke up the no-no, and it was followed by an RBI triple by Nate Smith. An RBI groundout pulled the Aces within 4-2, and an error by Nordgren in right field enabled UE to pull within one following a Peter Tountas RBI single.
The game’s turning point came in the bottom half of the fifth, as the Jays answered UE’s big inning with a three-spot of their own. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Ruf started a two-out rally with a single up the middle. Winkelmann was hit by a pitch to bring up Nordgren, who atoned for his error with a two-run double down the left field line. An RBI single by Vicente Cafaro capped off the inning and extended CU’s lead to 7-3.
The Jays tallied two more in the sixth inning, as Knight’s second double of the game scored Servais. A sacrifice fly by Soto scored Lam and pushed CU’s advantage to 9-3. Evansville tallied a run in the eighth, but Lackovic came in and shut the door with an inning-ending strikeout and a 1-2-3 ninth.
Hauer was very solid, as he surrendered just three earned runs on seven hits to pick up his team-leading seventh win. UE starter Sean McCarthy dropped to 0-7, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in eight innings.
Knight, Ruf, Cafaro and Servais each recorded two-hit games for the Jays, as CU out-hit the Aces 12-7. Nordgren drove in a team-high three runs in the contest, giving him 10 RBIs in his last three games.
Saturday’s game time has been moved ahead an hour to 1 PM, as rain is expected to enter the area later in the afternoon.
GAME NOTES: Creighton has scored in the bottom of the first in 13 of its 19 home games, and are outscoring opponents 29-2 in first innings at home ... Darin Ruf’s current 11-game hitting streak is one shy of his career long ... Ruf notched his 51st career multi-hit game, most on the team ... With his run-scoring triple in the first inning, Steve Winkelmann has now recorded an RBI in six straight games ... The previous season-long for a Creighton pitcher was seven innings, accomplished twice by Hauer and once by Mike Nihsen ... Game-time temperature was a frigid 42 degrees ... Creighton is now 13-0 at the CU Sports Complex this season.