OMAHA, Neb. - A late rally by the Creighton baseball team proved to be too-little, too-late, as they fell 3-2 to the Southern Illinois Salukis (14-24, 5-3). Creighton (27-9, 6-2) used a single by Jimmy Swift and a home run by Trever Adams (his 11th of the season) in the final frame to put come within one, but stranded two runners on base to end the game. SIU's Cody Forsythe picked up his fifth win of the season, striking out a career high 10 Bluejay batters while Jonas Dufek picks up his first loss, dropping to 6-1 on the season.
The first two innings appeared to be traveling down a similar path as the opening game of the series last night, with Bluejay starter Jonas Dufek and SIU hurler Cody Forsythe combining for five K's in the first inning. Dufek struck out the side in the first while Forsythe got two out of three Jays to go down swinging.
The Salukis struck first in the Saturday afternoon game, plating two runs on two hits in the second inning and adding another run in the third. An inning lead-off single by Brock Harding was followed by Nick Johnson's fourth home run of the season, giving the Salukis the early 2-0 lead. SIU struck again in the third, as Chris Murphy led off the inning with a double, advanced on Wes Neece's fly ball to center, and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Austin Montgomery.
SIU's Forsythe baffled the Bluejay batters early. The sophomore left hander was perfect through the first four innings, retiring the Jays in order through the first four frames. Forsythe struck out four batters in that span. The Jays finally picked up their first hit in the bottom of the fifth, putting together what appeared to be a scoring drive. Trever Adams led off the inning with a single back up the middle that nearly took off Forsythe's head. Alex Staehely followed with another single to center, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
A fly out by Anthony Bemboom and a strikeout by Scott Thornburg then left the Jays with two outs and runners on the corners. Mike Gerber picked up the first walk issued by Forsythe, loading the bases. The Jays would strand the runners, however, as Michael Mutcheson became the sixth strikeout victim of the afternoon.
Dufek buckled down through the heart of the game, stirking out four batters in the middle three innings and retiring the Salukis nine-straight. The Bluejay hitters couldn't put anything together in the sixth inning, and again stranded two runners in the seventh. Staehely picked up his second single of the game to lead off the inning and then advanced to second on Bemboom's single to left center. Staehely was back-doored on the play, however, getting caught at second base. A walk to Thornburg and a strike out ended the inning for the Jays.
Chase Webb came into pitch in the top of the eighth and shut down the Salukis, allowing just one hit in his 2.0 innings of work. The junior forced a fly out to end the eighth, as SIU stranded runners on the corners in the frame.
Creighton's rally in the ninth wouldn't be enough, as they stranded two more runners on base, bringing the game total to seven.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1 pm at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, with Greg Hellhake (3-1, 3.86 ERA) expected to face Brad Drust (1-2, 3.56 ERA).
Quick Hits: Creighton's Jonas Dufek struck out the side in the first, becoming the first Bluejay pitcher to strike out the side in the first inning since he did it in the opening game last season. Dufek fanned the first five men in the Feb. 20, 2010 game vs. SIU Edwardsville... Trever Adams became the first player to homer to left field at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha with his ninth-inning dinger ... Trever Adams now has 11 homers to lead the MVC, one shy of his total from all of 2010 ... Cody Forsythe entered the game with just seven walks in 62.1 innings, but walked two men in the same game for the first time all year... All three games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha have been decided by one run, and each of Creighton's last five home games have been one-run affairs ...Creighton dropped to 0-3 in games televised by NET Sports ...This was the first day game in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history ...Creighton's offense was 0-for-9 with two outs and 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.