OMAHA, Neb. - Turns out staring down the league's
home run leader in the eighth inning of a one-run ball game doesn't faze Jonas Dufek.
Dufek retired Cody Fick with two on and two out in the
eighth, and Mark Winkelman struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Oesterle with runners
on the corners and two down in the ninth for a 3-2 Creighton victory, Friday
evening at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Dufek (7-1) scattered five hits and struck out eight over a
season-long 8.0 innings to earn his league-best seventh victory. Winkelman earned
his first career save by stranding the two runners with two out in the ninth
The first jam the Jays wriggled out of came in the eighth as
Eric Stamets singled and Greg Wallace walked to bring Fick to the plate. Fick
laced a ball to center, but Joey Bowens gloved the line drive to get out of the
Dufek went out for the ninth, but was relieved after walking
Trentt Copeland to start the inning. Winkelman was called in from the pen, and
after a sac bunt, a groundout and a walk, Winkelman got Oesterle to wave at a
3-2 offering to end the game.
Carson Vitale had Creighton's only RBI and Jimmy Swift
posted two hits, as the first through fourth hitters in the CU lineup provided
all five hits.
Stamets dominated the stat sheet for Evansville, stroking three of the team's five
hits, including a two-run home run.
Creighton (20-17, 7-9 MVC) never trailed in the contest, as the
squad jumped to a 3-0 lead through five innings on the strength of Evansville (23-18, 5-5
MVC) wild pitches.
CU plated two runs in the third to take the first lead, as a
Vitale sacrifice fly plated the first run. A Swift single, a walk to Trever Adams
and a sac bunt from clean-up hitter T.J. Roemmich set it all up, as the Jays
went ahead 1-0
Adams then moved to third
on Keegan Dennis' first wild pitch, then scored on his second to make it a 2-0
The Jays plated another run on a wild pitch to go up 3-0 in
the sixth. Roemmich tripled with one out and scored on Dennis' third wild one
of the game.
That run turned out to be the difference, as the speedy
Stamets, who was ranked fourth in the country in stolen bases coming into the
week, his power in the sixth, bringing the Aces within one with his third home
run of the year.
Alex Acheson tripled off the base of the center field wall
with one out and Stamets responded by depositing a 3-2 Dufek offering two rows
deep in the left field bleachers.
Those were the games final runs however, as the Jays shut
down the Purple Aces from there.
Dennis (2-3) took the loss for Evansville, as he went 6.2 innings, striking
out six, but also walking five.
Creighton and Evansville
will head back to campus for game two on Saturday. The Jays and Purple Aces
will square off at 2 p.m. at the CU Sports Complex.
extended his on-base streak to 12 games ... Creighton has won the series opener
with Evansville 11 of the last 13 seasons ... The Jays moved to 4-1 when Dufek
strikes out the first batter of the game ... Creighton improved to 8-2 in Friday
games ... New men's basketball coach Greg McDermott threw out the ceremonial
first pitch ... Staehely was hit by his first career pitch in the fourth inning.