Hot Start, Vitale, Lead Baseball Over Iowa, 15-10
OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team started the game with 12 unanswered runs, and survived a 10-1, Iowa rally in the last three innings to hold on for a 15-10 win, Wednesday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Carson Vitale came a triple short of the cycle, going 5-for-5 with two home runs and eight RBI to lead the Bluejay (19-17) offense. The eight RBI were the most by a Creighton player since Adam Christensen drove in eight against Texas State on Feb. 25, 1996.
Greg Hellhake (1-0) earned his first win since April 24, 2009 by throwing five scoreless frames and matching a career-high with five strikeouts. Mike Nihsen pitched to the final batter of the game, earning his first career save. Michael Jacobs (1-3) took the loss for Iowa (17-22) allowing seven earned runs in an inning of work.
Jimmy Swift also added four hits to the 16-hit Creighton attack. He also scored four runs on the evening, as both marks matched career-highs.
Creighton rattled off nine runs on eight hits in the first two innings. Scott Thornburg's two-run double and Vitale's two-run single highlighted a first inning that saw the Jays send 10 men to the plate. Trever Adams and Joey Bowens also added RBI-singles in the inning, to make it 6-0 CU.
Jacobs faced one batter in the second before giving way to the Iowa bullpen. Vitale launched his first home run of the game, a three-run shot to center, to make it 9-0 CU. Vitale kept the runs coming in the fourth with his second homer; a two-run bomb deep in the left field bleachers that made it 11-0 Jays.
Another three-run rally in the sixth put the Jays up by a dozen. T.J. Roemmich laced an two-run double down the right field line and Vitale came up with another RBI, bringing home Roemmich with a double for the third run of the inning.
Things started to get shaky for the Jays, as the Hawkeyes rallied off Kurt Spomer. Iowa tallied six runs in the frame on seven hits. The Hawks posted five straight hits with two out, as five different players had RBI in the frame.
The two teams traded single runs, in the seventh and eighth to make it 15-7, before Iowa put a scare into the Jays with three runs in the ninth.
Two walks and a hit batsman by Bobby Lackovic started the inning. Phil Keppler whiffed for the first out, but Iowa pushed across a run on a misplayed ball in left that turned into an RBI fielder's choice at third.
Mike Corbeil recorded a pinch-hit double with runners on the corners to close the gap to 15-9. Lackovic then hit Kurtis Muller to load the bases, and walked Zach McCool to make it a 15-10 game, bringing the tying run on-deck.
Nihsen was then called from the bullpen and got Mike McQuillan to fly out to center for the game's final out.
Three different players for Iowa had three hits, led by McCool who also had three RBI.
Creighton will get back to Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend against Evansville. First pitch on Friday from Rosenblatt Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Greg McDermott, Creighton's new men's basketball head coach, will be on hand to throw out the first pitch. Post-game fireworks will also be presented by Bellino Enterprises.
NOTES: Creighton's six first inning runs tonight were its most in the first inning of any game since April 29, 2007, when it scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first in a 17-6 win over Northern Colorado ... It was also the most runs this season since the Jays scored 13 in the eighth of the season opener against SIU-Edwardsville ... Creighton moved to 4-2 in games against BCS conference schools ... Ian Dike remains the only Bluejay with at least one hit in every game at Rosenblatt Stadium this season ... Vitale's eight RBI and five hits were career highs, while his home run was his second career shot at Rosenblatt ... Those marks were also team bests for 2010 ... Kurt Spomer's six earned runs allowed in the seventh quadrupled his season total, and were the most by a Creighton reliever this season.