DALLAS, Texas - Down 8-4 entering the eighth, the Creighton baseball
team exploded for seven runs in final two frames to claim the season opener,
11-9, on Friday, Feb. 15.
The Bluejays earned a season-opening victory to go to 1-0 on the season,
while Dallas Baptist fell to 0-1. It is the fourth straight season opening win
for the Jays and the sixth win in the last seven seasons.
Down to their final six outs, Creighton responded with four runs on four
hits to tie the game at 8-8. Junior transfer Federico
Castagnini led off with a single to right field. Castagnini was
forced on a fielder's choice by sophomore Jake Peter,
then junior Mike Gerber
delivered his second single to put runners at first and second. A double steal
put both runners in scoring position, then a walk to senior Alex Staehely
loaded the bases with one out.
A two-run single by freshman Reagan Fowler
cut the deficit in half as Fowler laced a single to center. Dallas
Baptist called upon its closer Michael Smith, who promptly uncorked a wild
pitch to put runners at second and third. Two pitches later, Smith hit
Blatchford to load the bases for a second time in the inning.
With the game in the balance sophomore Kevin Lamb
strode to the plate. Lamb came through in the clutch with a two-run
single to left field to knot the game at 8-8.
Dallas Baptist seemed poised to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the eighth
as Jamie Garrido led off with a double to right. After a sacrifice bunt
moved Garrido, Omaha native Bryan Sova
came on to shut the door on the Patriots.
Sova's performance continued the Jays' momentum send Creighton to the plate
riding an emotional high.
The offense used the emotion to take complete control as McKewon reached on
a single to third, then Castagnini drew a walk to put runners at first and
second. Peter followed with a sharp single to center, giving the Jays a
9-8 lead. A wild throw allowed Castagnini to score as well, making it
10-8. Gerber added an insurance run via a single to center to give
Creighton an 11-8 cushion heading to the ninth.
Sova limited the Patriots to one run on two hits in the ninth to earn his
first victory as a Bluejay.
Creighton fell behind 1-0 in the bottom of the first as Dallas Baptist
plated a run off Creighton starter Nick Musec
on back-to-back doubles with two outs.
The Jays pulled even in the top of the third as sophomore Jake Peter
drove home Lamb with a two-out RBI single through
the right side. Lamb led off the inning with an infield single and was
moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by junior Brad McKewon.
Creighton appeared to take control with three runs in the top of the fifth
to take a 4-1. Peter led off the inning with a single to left, then Gerber blasted a single off the foot of Dallas Baptist
starter Cy Sneed to put runners at first and second. One out later, Staehely gave Creighton a 2-1 lead with a single to
Dallas Baptist went to their bullpen, calling on senior Aaron
Gilbreath. Fowler forced Staehely on a
fielder's choice. With runners at the corners, pinch hitter Michael
Blatchford laced an RBI single to left to make it 3-1. Finally Lamb plated Fowler with a single through the right side,
giving the Jays a 4-1 lead.
The Bluejay lead, however, was short lived as the Patriots scored six runs
on three hits, three walks and an error to claim a 7-4 edge.
Dallas Baptist pushed its lead to 8-4 with a run on two hits and a sacrifice
in the seventh.
Three Jays finished with three hits, Peter (3-for-6, two RBI), Gerber
(3-for-4, RBI) and Lamb (3-for-4, three RBI).
Sova allowed one run on two hits in 1.2 innings for the win (1-0), picking
up one strikeout. Dallas Baptist's Smith suffered the loss (0-1),
allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in 0.1 innings.