Picket Fence Leads Baseball Past Minnesota, 6-4

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Jack VanLeur picked up his second straight save.
Courtesy: None

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Creighton clinched at least a share of the Metrodome Tournament title with a 6-4 win over host Minnesota on Saturday night. The Bluejays improve to 8-3 on the season, while Minnesota fell to 5-8.

The Jays fell behind 2-0 early, then put up the proverbial picket fence by scoring a single run in six different innings, including the final five frames.

Minnesota got on the scoreboard first, scoring twice in the bottom of the second to stake itself to an early 2-0 lead. A walk to clean-up hitter Nick O'Shea and single by Trip Schultz put runners at the corners with nobody out. One out later O'Shea would score on an RBI fielders choice off the bat of Kyle Geason. Geason then stole second and scored on a single by Drew Hanish.

Creighton cut that deficit in half in the next half-inning. Jimmy Swift singled and stole second, and one out later moved to third on an RBI by Alex Staehely. Swift would score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Robbie Knight.

The Jays then used some two-out magic to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Ian Dike reached on an error by second baseman Hanish with two outs. After Staehely's second single of the game moved him up 90 feet, Dike would motor home to score on an RBI single from Knight. The safety continued Knight's hit streak to 14 straight games dating back to last season.

Creighton took its first lead of the evening in the top of the sixth. Trever Adams was hit on a 1-0 pitch and was bunted into scoring position by Scott Thornburg. He would then score on T.J. Roemmich's two-out triple, giving CU a 3-2 lead.

Dike gave CU a 4-2 lead with a homer to right-center. His second dinger of the year greeted reliever Phil Isaksson. Isaksson relieved Gopher starter Luke Rasmussen, who allowed five hits, three runs (two earned) and struck out four without a walk over six innings in the longest outing of his career.

Creighton used more small ball to manufacture another run in the top of the eighth. Carson Vitale walked and moved to second on a Roemmich sacrifice. He then scored on a Jimmy Swift single past a diving Hanish. A chance for a bigger rally was thwarted when Hanish made a fantastic over-the-shoulder catch, then whirled to double Swift off first for the inning-ending double play.

Creighton tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. With two down Vitale would walk with the bases loaded, scoring Soto.

Minnesota made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. With one out,  Matt Puhl doubled before AJ Pettersen went yard for his first homer of the year, making it 6-4. CU skipper Ed Servais then called on Jack VanLeur, and the South Dakota native pitched around a two-out double nailed down his second save in as many days.

Koenigstein (1-0) allowed nine hits and two runs in 5.1 innings of work while picking up his first decision since a complete-game no-hitter at Wichita State last season. Matt Patterson relieved Koenigstein and threw three innings of relief. Patterson was nearly perfect until fading late and giving way to VanLeur.

Creighton's offensive attack was paced by two hits each from Adams, Swift and Staehley. Minnesota, which has finished in the top-three of the Big Ten in nine of the past 12 years, got two hits each from Pettersen, Michael Kvasnicka, Geason and Hanish.

Creighton closes its 10-day road trip tomorrow with an 11 am game against Harvard (2-3). The Crimson have already been beaten by both Minnesota and South Dakota State this weekend.

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