OMAHA, Neb. - In just his 16th at bat of the season, Jordan Makovicka picked up the biggest hit of his career thus far, driving a first pitch single back up the middle to drive in two runs and give Creighton a 5-3 win over Kansas on Tuesday. Creighton (28-10, 6-3) led three times on the night, taking the lead in the second, third and then eighth innings over the Jayhawks (20-21, 9-9). It is the first time in their new home at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha a game has been decided by more than a one run difference. The 5-3 win also gives the Jays two wins over KU this season, guaranteeing the Jays at least a 3-3 record against the Big 12 this season (with just one game against Nebraska left on May 10).
The Bluejays got on the board first, thanks to a solo shot by Alex Staehely in the bottom of the second. After going 10 games without an extra base hit, Staehely now has back to back games with an extra base knock, picking up a double in Sunday's loss to Southern Illinois. His second home run of the season was a drive that just stayed inside the left field foul pole into the Bluejay bullpen.
CU starter Brandon Koenigstein pitched 3.2 innings on the mound, putting up numbers very similar to his start against Kansas State. In the outing earlier this season (4/12), Koenigstein went 4.0 innings with four hits and an earned run surrendered. In Tuesday's 3.2 inning outing, the junior gave up four hits and one earned run. He struck out one batter and walked two. The only run Koenigstein surrendered was in the third inning, when Chris Manship led off the inning with a single, was bunted to second, and scored on a single by Brandon Macias to left field. It would be the only inning Koenigstein allowed a runner to reach second base.
Creighton regained the lead in the bottom of the third frame, again scoring one run on one hit. A leadoff walk by Makovicka started the trend of three consecutive base runners. Michael Mutcheson knocked a single into left field moving Makovicka to third base and putting runners on the corners. Nick Judkins drove a ball to the first baseman, Zac Elgie, who had a hard time finding a grip on the ball and allowing Judkins to reach safely and loading the bases. A Jimmy Swift sacrifice fly to left field brought in the second run for the Jays, who led 2-1 after three.
Kansas tied the game back up in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs off Creighton reliever Mark Winkelman. A one out walk, followed by a ground out and another walk put runners on first and second with two outs. Jimmy Waters then tied the game with a double down the left field line, followed by a Zac Elgie infield single to give the Jayhawks the lead. Winkelman finished the game with 1.0 innings pitched, giving up an earned run, two walks and a hit.
Solid relief by the KU bullpen kept the Bluejays scoreless through the middle three frames, but the Jays put up a single run in the seventh and two in the eighth to again take the lead. Mike Gerber led off the seventh with his second triple of the season and would eventually score on a wild pitch by Frank Duncan. The Bluejays left a runner in the seventh but would make up for it in the eighth when they earned the win with two runs.
With one out in the eighth, Staehely ripped a single to center field that was followed by back-to-back walks to load the bases, the first by Anthony Bemboom and the second to Chance Ross. With two outs, Makovicka stepped to the plate and delivered a first pitch single to center field that drove in both Staehely and Bemboom. The two RBI were just his second and third RBI of the season.
Creighton brought in Kurt Spomer from the bullpen to close out the game, as he recorded a strike out and two ground outs to give the Jays the 5-3 win.
Staehely and Gerber led the Jays on Tuesday with two hits each, with Mutcheson, Adams and Makovicka each picking up one for a total of seven Bluejay hits on the night. Jack VanLeur earned the win, improving to 3-0 on the season while Spomer picked up his fifth save of the season.
The Bluejays will be in action again this weekend when they host MVC opponent Bradley. The two teams will play 6:30 pm games on Friday and Saturday and then a 1:00 pm start on Sunday, all at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.