SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Creighton scored in four of the last five innings, taking advantage of a mistake prone Missouri State squad with an 8-2 victory Friday evening at Hammons Field.
Jonas Dufek (6-1) earned his sixth win of the season, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out four in seven innings of work.
The Jays (18-13, 6-7 MVC) used three Bear (15-21, 1-6 MVC) miscues in the first inning to take an early lead. With Adams on first, a catcher's interference, a balk and a passed ball led to the game's first run.
The game stayed close until the fifth, when the Jays started to pull away. Vitale led off with an infield single that was thrown away by shortstop Travis McComack. A sac bunt and a single by Staehely made it 2-0 Jays. After Staehely stole second, Elliot Soto brought him around to extend the lead to three.
Another Bear error led to a 4-0 CU lead. Vitale hit into what looked to be an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Kevin Medrano's throw short-hopped the first baseman, bounded into the dugout and scored Scott Thornburg to score from second.
Curt Courtwright answered for the Bears in the bottom of the sixth with his second home run of the season, making it a 4-1 game. It was the lone highlight for the Bears, as the Jays pulled away with three runs in the seventh.
The Jays rallied with two outs in the frame, as Jimmy Swift walked, stole second and scored on an Adams single to right. Roemmich then hammered the first pitch he saw into the bullpen in left to make it a 7-1 game.
The Jays would tack on another run in the eight with an RBI fielder's choice from Staehely, and MSU would go on to put up a run in the eighth on a Tyler Bean pinch-hit, RBI single for the final 8-2 margin.
Mike Kickham took the loss for the Bears, falling to 4-5 after giving up seven runs, five earned, on eight hits in seven innings. MSU was also plagued by a lack of timely hitting, leaving nine men on base in the final four innings.
Creighton and Missouri State will play game two of their series at 2 p.m. back at Hammons Field on Saturday.
NOTES: The start of Friday's game was delayed 45 minutes due to rain ... Creighton moved to 7-2 in Friday games this season. They have taken the first lead in all but two of those contests, winning one and losing one ... Vitale stopped a 1-for-13 stretch with his infield single in the fifth ... Courtwright is now 11-for-23 with eight RBI against the Jays ... The Jays improved to 9-0 when they hold their opponent to four runs or less ... Dufek's 84 pitches was the second fewest by a Creighton pitcher throwing seven or more innings this season. Brandon Koenigstein threw 75 in seven against Southern Illinois on March 27 ... Vitale's multi-hit effort was first in seven games and just his second in last 17 ... Dufek became the first Creighton right hander to win six games in one season since Eric Wordekemper in 2005 ... CU has now won nine of its last 10 series openers on the road in MVC play ... Creighton picked up its sixth win when getting out-hit by the opponent ... Bobby Lackovic pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th consecutive appearance without allowing a run.