WICHITA, Kan. - Senior Jeremy Hauer tossed a complete game five-hitter to lead Creighton to a 5-1 win over Southern Illinois in the first game of the 2009 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
Hauer (2-6) continued his career mastery over the Salukis, improving to 2-0 with a 1.11 ERA in three career starts vs. SIU. It was the first complete game of his 37-game career with the Jays, which includes 27 starts.
Creighton snapped a six-game losing streak and improved to 29-24 on the year, while Southern Illinois fell to 23-27. Creighton became the first team to win its first game of the MVC Tournament in six straight seasons since Wichita State did it in 10 straight years from 1980-89.
Creighton opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against Saluki starter Adam Curynski. Jimmy Swift singled down the right-field line with one out and moved to second on an Ian Dike sacrifice bunt. After a Robbie Knight walk and Elliot Soto single loaded the bases, CU scored two runs without the ball leaving the infield. Darin Ruf hit a grounder up the middle that was fielded by shortstop Michael Stalter. His flip to second baseman Scott Elmendorf to get Ruf at second was late, scoring Swift, and Knight would come around to score when the ball got away from Elmendorf as he attempted to wheel to throw towards first.
CU padded its lead with three runs in the sixth inning while knocking Curynski from the game and building a 5-0 lead. Nick Becker lined a single off Curynski's shoulder with one out and advanced to third on Carson Vitale's double down the third-base line. Becker scored on a single up the middle by Swift, making it 3-0. Curynski then hit Dike with a pitch to load the bases before giving way to David Kington. Kington hit Knight with a pitch to score Vitale, and Swift trotted home on Soto's sacrifice fly to deep center.
SIU scored its only run in the top of the ninth inning. Elmendorf doubled down the line to start the ninth inning and around to score after consecutive fly outs to center. The 'Dawgs were limited to five hits, two each by Elmendorf and Aaron Roberts and one from Mark Kelly.
Hauer yielded just five hits and one run to improve to 2-6 on the season. He walked four and struck out five in his 125 pitch effort, which included nine full counts.
Creighton's offense boasted seven hits on the day, including two each from Vicente Cafaro and Swift. Swift also scored twice.
Curynski was saddled with the loss, dropping to 2-5. He allowed seven hits, five runs (four earned) and two walks in 5.1 innings.
CU will play its second game of the MVC Tournament on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m., as it plays the host school Wichita State. That game can be heard on KOZN (1620 AM).
NOTES: Darin Ruf's RBI in the fifth was the 199th of his career, second-most in school history ...Saluki shortstop Michael Stalter grounded into 6-4-3 double plays to end the first and sixth innings ...Creighton has outscored opponents 22-1 in the sixth inning of its past four trips to the MVC Tournament, including 10-0 last year ..Robbie Knight increased his league-record hit-by-pitch total to 72 with a pair of HBP's. It's the 13th time in his career he's been hit two or more times in the same game ...Three of Knight's career HBP's have come with bases loaded ...Southern Illinois coach Dan Callahan will miss this weekend's action while battling a form of melanoma ...Creighton turned three double plays on the day, giving them 68 on the year ...Creighton has played eight straight errorless games at Wichita State's Eck Stadium, successfully handling 294 straight chances since an error in a 2007 game ...Ian Dike is now 7-for-11 (.636) with three walks in his career against Southern Illinois ...Vicente Cafaro has played 41 games since his last error against MVC competition, a streak that includes 219 flawless chances. That includes 135 chances this season against league foes ...Ed Servais is now 13-9 in MVC Tournament games ...Creighton can clinch a spot in Saturday's championship game with a win over Missouri State on Friday, regardless of its result vs. Wichita State tomorrow night.