PORTLAND, Ore. - Ty Blach threw a gem of a game on the mound, giving up just two hits in 8.0 innings of work, but a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth pushed the game to extra innings where the Pilots defeated the Jays 3-2.
Play was dominated early by pitching and defense, as the two teams had just a combined three hits through the first four innings. Mike Gerber picked up Creighton's first hit in the second inning, a single to left field, but the Jays couldn't advance the centerfielder.
The Bluejays put a pair of runners on base in the third inning, but again couldn't push anyone as far as third base. Jake Peter picked up his first extra-base hit of his career, blasting a double over the left fielders head. A walk to Chance Ross then put the pair of Jays on the bases, but they would again be stranded.
Ty Blach continued to baffle the Pilot batters on the mound, allowing just a pair of hits through the first five innings. Blach did get a little help from his defense, as the Jays turned a traditional 5-4-3 double play to close out the third inning.
Creighton threatened first, advancing runners to second and third in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Erik Mattingly dropped a soft single into right centerfield. Jake Peter then drove a ball back up the middle, advancing Mattingly to third and landing himself on second base after the throw. A fly out ended the frame and the game remained knotted after five.
It looked as though Brennan Murphy was going to score the first run of the ballgame in the top of the seventh. With one out, Murphy threaded a double just inside third base that bounced off the indoor hitting facility that sits just left of the foul line in left field. Murphy advanced to third on a ground out by Mattingly but another ground ball forced by Pilot starter Kyle Kraus.
Creighton scored the first two runs on the day in the top of the eighth inning. With one out, Nick Judkins singled up the middle but was forced out on a fielder's choice ground ball from Anthony Bemboom. Scott Thornburg was then hit by a pitch to put a pair of Jays on the basepaths.
Mike Gerber drove in the first run, driving a single to left center field that advanced Thornburg to second and scored Bemboom. The Bluejays then scored their second run of the day thanks to an Alex Staehely single to left field that scored Thornburg. Creighton nearly scored a third run on the same play after UP third baseman Zack McCoy overthrew the ball into right field. Gerber was rounded third and was tagged out trying to slide into home.
Creighton looked to have the win in hand, as Kurt Spomer came in with a runner on first and retired two batters in order. With a 2-0 count and two outs, Turner Gill blasted a two-run home run over the right field fence to tie the game at 2-2 and force extra baseball.
After holding the Bluejays scoreless in the top half of the 10th, including picking off another runner on first, the Pilots used a walk, a hit batter and a single to left field to score the winning run.
Three different Bluejays finished the day with a pair of hits each, as Judkins, Gerber and Peter led the Jays offensively. Creighton held the 11-4 edge in hits on the afternoon, as Kris Kauppila (2), Ben Grubb and Gill each picked up hits for the Pilots.
The two teams are scheduled to play again tomorrow, with a 3:00 pm Central start time. Should inclimate weather change the game times or schedule, check into www.gocreighton.com for changes.
NOTES: Ty Blach was outstanding on the mound on Friday, surrendering just two hits on the day. Blach threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters he faced ... Blach held the Portland offense to just two hits and no runs. The Pilots scored 32 runs combined in their first three games ... Both pitchers worked very quickly on the mound, as the seventh inning stretch was played just 1:17 after the first pitch of the ballgame ... Creighton was picked off for the first time this season, when Mike Gerber was pegged. Kyle Kraus attempted a pickoff on nearly every Bluejay baserunner to reach first base ... The two starting pitchers combined for just three strikeouts on the day, as Blach had a pair and Kyle Kraus had one ... Kyle Kraus finished with 8.0 innings on the mound, and the Pilots used three different pitchers to close out the final one inning ... Creighton now holds a 3-2 lead over Portland