Baseball Takes Second Straight Over Nebraska, 8-5
OMAHA, Neb. - Robbie Knight's first at-bat in nearly three weeks turned out to be worth the wait.
The hobbled outfielder lined a double to the right-center gap in the eighth inning, as pinch runner Michael Blatchford scored on a Jimmy Swift single to break a 5-5 tie en route to an 8-5 Creighton victory over Nebraska, Friday evening at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The hit was Knight's first since March 27, and part of a Creighton (17-13) four-run comeback. The Jays bullpen played a key part, holding the Huskers (18-19) hitless from the second batter of third inning until the beginning of the ninth inning.
The Bluejays tied the game in the seventh with a two-out rally helped along by the Nebraska pitching staff. With two outs and the bases loaded, reliever Chris Williams hit Scott Thornburg with a breaking ball to bring the Jays within one, and walked Ian Dike to tie the game at five.
After a scoreless Huskers eighth, the Jays continued to go to work on Williams, as Knight came on for the pinch hit double with one out. After an intentional walk to Elliot Soto, Swift delivered with a single up the middle for what turned out to be the winning run.
A sac bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases and kept the rally going, as new Husker pitcher Chase Adams uncorked two wild pitches, scoring Soto and Swift to make it 8-5.
Nebraska did not go quietly, as Josh Scheffert led off the ninth with the first Husker hit since the third inning. Cody Asche doubled to chase Jack VanLeur from the game, but Bobby Lackovic struck out the next two hitters, and got Tyler Farst to fly out to end the game.
Soto played a key role in the Creighton attack, posting a 3-for-4 night and matching a career-high with four runs. Trever Adams also had two hits, as five different Bluejays posted one RBI.
VanLeur (2-3) was one of eight Creighton pitchers to throw, as he earned the win by throwing a scoreless eighth. Lackovic posted his first save of the season while Williams (0-1) suffered the loss in just his second collegiate appearance.
After T.J. Roemmich gave Creighton a 1-0 lead in the first, Nebraska rallied for a four-run second inning. The first five batters of the inning reached on Mike Nihsen, as Cade Thompson posted the first run by getting hit by a pitch.
An RBI fielder's choice by Farst followed for the second Husker run, and two batters later D.J. Belfonte and Kale Kiser posted, a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles to give the Huskers the 4-1 lead. Nebraska would tack on another in the third on a Scheffert groundout before the Jays started chipping away.
Adams brought home Soto with an RBI-single in the third, and a two-out single by Carson Vitale in the sixth set-up Creighton's rally in the seventh and eight innings.
Creighton will try to make it three straight MVC road series wins this weekend, as they travel to Springfield, Mo. to take on Missouri State. First pitch from Hammons Field on Friday is slated for 6:30 p.m.
NOTES: The win was Creighton's fifth in their last at-bat this season ... It was also the first time Creighton has won its first two in a season series with the Huskers since 1993 ... The two double plays turned were the first since the March 27 game at Southern Illinois ... The save was just Lackovic's second in 80 career games. His first came almost a year to the day; April 19, 2009 against Illinois-Chicago ... In his last seven games he has pitched 7.0 innings without giving up a hit, and has not given up a run in his last eight appearances.