ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - For the second time in as many games the Creighton baseball team fell behind 3-0 and had to fight back to earn the win. The Jays battled and behind strong pitching from the pitching staff, defeated New Mexico 4-3. Alex Staehely stayed hot from the plate, finishing the day two-for-four. The second baseman was the only Jay to pick up multiple hits on the day.
New Mexico got on the board first, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. After Ben Woodchick grounded out to the pitcher, Kyle Stiner singled up the middle on an 0-2 count. Stiner then advanced to second on a wild pitch and when Anthony Bemboom tried to hurry a throw, sent one in the outfield, allowing Stinger to move to third base. D.J. Peterson then walked to put runners on first and third for Mitchell Garver. Garver ripped a triple to the right field, 428 gap, driving in both Peterson and Stiner. Creighton got out of the inning before too much more damage, allowing two runs on two hits and one error.
The Jays had a chance in the top of the second to get one back, when Alex Staehely singled through the right side. Staehely then advanced to second on a balk by Lobos pitcher Gera Sanchez. Creighton's scoring chances ended when Mike Gerber lined a ball to dead center and Staehely was caught too far off the base, ending the inning with a double play.
The two teams continued to play scoreless baseball through the next couple innings, with New Mexico threatening in the bottom of the second, but Blach forced a grounder to Nick Judkins, a foul fly ball to Jimmy Swift and a strike out to leave two Lobos stranded on base. Creighton's only baserunner until the top of the fifth was on Bemboom's single to right field. Creighton couldn't advance him, as Staehely hit into a 5-4-3 double play. The Jays went three-up, three-down in the fourth.
Creighton showed why it has been one of the top defensive teams in the Ed Servais era, snagging a couple balls in the bottom of the fourth that would have scored another Lobo run. With a runner on second, Ty Blach jumped out of shoes to save a ball from going up the middle, turning and back-dooring the runner at second. To end the inning, Staehely snagged a ball on his glove-hand side, a sharp one hopper to save the runner from advancing.
Staehely knocked in his team leading fifth RBI of the season to score the Jays first run. In the top of the fifth inning, Erik Mattingly walked and was followed by Staehely's third double of the season, scoring a gassed out Mattingly from first base. After a Gerber strikeout, Chance Ross stepped in and drove a triple to the gap that scored Staehely. The Jays took the lead when Bemboom grounded out to the shortstop, scoring Ross from third base.
The Lobos evened up the game in the bottom of the fifth. With one out DJ Peterson singled to center field. Garver then drove in his third RBI of the day, sending a double to right center field. But defensive hustle by Gerber and a great relay by Swift got Garver out at third base to force the second out of the inning.
Creighton continued its scoring drive when Swift singled up the middle and then took advantage of his speed. Swift stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Mattingly picked up his first hit of his Bluejay career, driving a double down the right field line that scored Swift.
Kurt Spomer came in for relief for the Jays in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving Blach his second win of the season. Blach finished the day with 5.0 IP, five hits, three runs (all earned), three walks and two strikeouts. Spomer got the Lobos out in order, forcing three ground outs to end the bottom of the sixth. The Jays tried to give Spomer another run to work with in the top of the seventh. After Gerber and Ross struck out and grounded out, respectively, Bemboom walked and Mutcheson executed a perfect hit and run, moving Bemboom to third. Mutcheson stole second, but the Jays would leave runners on second and third as Judkins struck out swinging to end the inning.
Creighton went three-up, three-down in the seventh and eighth and brought in Mark Winkelman in the bottom of the eighth. The Lobos welcomed Winkelman to the mound by driving a single to right field. But a thrown out Lobo and a strike out ended the inning for the Lobos.
Spomer finished the game with 2.1 innings pitched, with no runs, no hits and one strikeout, while Winkelman had one hit and one strikeout in 0.2 innings of work. Reese McGraw came in and picked up his first save of the season, throwing 1.0 innings and giving up one hit and striking out one. Gera Sanchez took the loss for the Lobos, finishing with 7.0 IP, seven hits, four runs, two walks and four strikeouts.
The Jays and Lobos each had seven hits on the day, leaving five and six runners on base, respectively. Creighton now improves to 4-1 on the young season, while New Mexico drops to 0-5 for the first time since 2000. The two teams will play a double header tomorrow starting at 1:00 p.m. CST. Follow live stats of the game via www.gocreighton.com.