For the first time in its last three trips to Lincoln the Creighton baseball team lost to the University of Nebraska on Tuesday night. The 8-5 win for the Huskers, who led the whole game, drops Creighton’s record to 20-6 on the season and improves Nebraska’s to 20-11. Ten different pitchers were used in the game, five by each team.
For just the third time this season, the Huskers put up more than one run in the first inning. Nebraska scored two runs on two hits and stranded one off Creighton starting pitcher Kurt Spomer. After a leadoff ground ball, Bryan Peters picked up the first hit of the game, an infield single that died on the infield grass. Cody Asche then drew a four pitch walk, followed by a Kash Kalkowski double down the left field line, scoring Peters from second and advancing Asche to third. Nebraska scored their second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Kurt Farmer before Spomer struck out Chad Christiansen to end the inning.
Creighton’s offense struggled in the opening three innings, going hit-less with the only baserunners due to walks. Creighton had five fly ball outs in the first three frames and four ground ball outs, including one sacrifice bunt by Joey Bowens.
Spomer left the game after his scheduled two innings and the Jays brought in Chase Webb. The Huskers welcomed him by putting up another run in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back singles by Asche and Kalkowski put runners on first and second for Farmer, who moved both with a sacrifice bunt. Asche scored the third run of the game on a ground ball deep to Jimmy Swift. Another ground ball out ended the inning.
Webb pitched into the fifth inning, when Jack VanLeur came in the game with one no outs and a runner on first. VanLeur gave up his first home run to a Husker batter in his career, as Asche knocked out his seventh home run of the season over the right field wall. It also marked the first home run a Husker has hit in the last five meetings at Hawks Field, not allowing a Husker round-tripper in Lincoln since April 18, 2006.
Millard West graduate Tyler Niederklein baffled the Bluejay batters until the top of the sixth inning. Creighton had failed to get a single hit until that point, but scored three runs on three hits in the inning. After a lead off strike out, Nick Judkins drew the fourth walk of the game. Swift then picked up the first Bluejay hit of the game, a single to right field. Trever Adams then stood in and ripped his seventh home run of the season over the left field fence, scoring three runs and pulling the Huskers within 5-3. Alex Staehely continued the inning with a triple to the left center gap.
Nebraska was forced to make a pitching change, bringing in Nick Dolsky for his sixth appearance of the season. Anthony Bemboom drew a four pitch walk but was followed by a Chance Ross strike out swinging. Gerber came up with two outs and runners on the corners and drew his third walk of the game. The Huskers brought in Tom Lemke, who struck out Bowens to end the threat.
The Huskers got back two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Scheffert flew out to Adams to start off the inning before three straight hits, including a single with the infield drawn in, plated two more runs for Nebraska. The Jays brought in McGraw who allowed the RBI single, a walk and a pop out to end the inning. After six, the Huskers led 7-3.
Creighton and Nebraska traded scoreless half innings in the seventh before the Bluejays threatened again. Staehely led off the inning with a walk before advancing to second on a Scott Thornburg pinch hit single up the middle. A fielders choice by Ross put runners on the corners. Tyler King then threw a wild pitch, allowing Staehely to score and Ross to move to second. Gabriel Thibodeaux then was brought in to pinch hit against freshman reliever Brandon Pierce, but grounded out to end the threat.
The Huskers added one more in the bottom of the eighth on back-to-back sacrifice bunts. Creighton did put together a rally in the top of the ninth. With the top of the order up in the the ninth, Bluejay batters picked up three straight walks on 13 pitches to load the bases for Adams, who knocked a sacrifice fly to right field, driving in one Mutcheson. Staehely struck out for the second out, and Thornburg grounded out to end the game and give Nebraska the three-run win.
The Jays finished the day with four hits and left 10 runners on base. No Bluejay hitter had more than one hit, though Adams continued his torrid hitting with all four RBI, giving him 14 RBI in the past five games and 20 RBI over his past eight games. Nebraska had nine hits in the game, led by Peters, Asche and Kalkowski with two each.
Niederklein improved to 4-1 with the win, while Pierce earned his second save. Spomer dropped to 1-3 while losing his first career start.
Nebraska now holds a 72-39-2 record over Creighton all time, including a 15-8 lead in the Ed Servais era. The two teams will meet again on April 19 in Omaha. The game will be the first for the Jays in their new home, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Story courtesy of GoCreighton.com