Creighton started its 2011 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament run with a 9:00 am first pitch on Wednesday morning and by 12:26 am on Thursday morning had played a pair of games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. After their Tuesday night game was postponed by weather, the top-seeded Bluejays opened with a 4-1 win over eighth-seeded Bradley Wednesday morning. That win advanced the Bluejays to a contest against Missouri State in the fifth game of the day, which started at 9:39 pm and ended early Thursday morning with the fourth-seeded Bears topping the Bluejays 10-3.
The loss drops the Bluejays (40-14) into an elimination game against Southern Illinois (23-33) on Thursday at 12:30 pm. The Bears (33-21) will be off until tomorrow night at 7:30 pm, where they await the winner of the CU-SIU contest.
Creighton struck first, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. First-team All-MVC outfielder Trever Adams led off the frame with a single up the middle. He scored the first run of the game on Anthony Bemboom’s triple which deflected off the glove of a diving Spiker Helms along the right field line. Bemboom scored with two outs, when Mike Gerber delivered a single to right field, giving the Jays a 2-0 lead after two innings.
The Bears (33-21) answered with a five-run third inning, chasing Bluejay starter Ty Blach from the game. Helms worked a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2 and was at second with one out when Blach walked Aaron Conway on four pitches. Kevin Medrano followed by ripping his fourth triple of the season into the left centerfield alley, tying the game 2-2. Luke Voit then plated Medrano with an RBI double, giving MSU a 3-2 lead. Brent Seifert moved Voit up a base on his single to center and Seifert moved into scoring position with two outs on Tyler Paxson’s sacrifice bunt. Both runners scored on a single by Derek Mattea, pushing the Bears lead to 5-2. Travis McComack proved to be the final batter Blach would face, as his single knocked the CU left-hander from the game. Reliever Chase Webb induced a ground out by Helms to get out of the inning.
The game remained 5-2 until the Bears again erupted for a five-run frame in the top of the seventh inning. MSU collected five hits and five runs off of two Bluejay relievers in the frame. Brock Chaffin, McComack, Helms and Conway each had RBI singles in the inning, with Conway’s hit driving in two.
Gabriel Thibodeaux led off the Creighton eighth inning with a double and scored CU’s third run on a ground out by Jimmy Swift.
Blake Barber picked up the win for MSU, throwing seven inning to improve to 8-4 on the season. The right-hander scattered seven hits and just the two second-inning runs. The senior walked just one and tied his career-high with seven strikeouts in the win.
Blach suffered just his second loss of the season for the Bluejays, dropping to 10-2 in the loss. The sophomore allowed six hits and five earned runs, while he walked two and struck out three in 2.2 innings of work. Webb kept the Bluejays in the game, allowing just one hit and no runs, striking out two in 3.1 innings out of the bullpen.
Creighton will return to action in an elimination game on Thursday at 12:30 pm against SIU. The Salukis lost their first game of the tournament on Tuesday, but bounced back to stay alive with a 5-1 win over Bradley on Wednesday.