Jonas Dufek outdueled Michael Palazzone and No. 25 Creighton scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 2-1 victory over Georgia to open play at the Corvallis Regional on Friday afternoon.
Creighton (45-14) will play tomorrow night at 8 pm Central (6 pm Pacific) against the winner of tonight’s Arkansas-Little Rock – Oregon State game in a winners bracket game of the double-elimination Regional. Georgia (31-31) will play tomorrow at 3 pm in an elimination game against the UALR/OSU loser.
Dufek was brilliant, scattering five hits and striking out 10 men while improving to 12-1 this year. He lowered his ERA to an MVC-best 2.08 in the process.
Creighton’s first real scoring chance didn’t come until the sixth inning. Mike Gerber singled with one out and raced to third when a throw from Georgia catcher Brandon Stephens airmailed first baseman Jonathan Hester. Creighton could not capitalize though, as Ross struck out swinging and Judkins flied out to second base.
Georgia scored the game’s first run in the top of the seventh. With one out Chase Davidson legged out infield single, then came around to score when Jonathan Hester put a charge into an 0-2 Dufek offering and doubled over Gerber’s head in center. Dufek pitched out of trouble after that, not allowing another baserunner the rest of the day.
Jimmy Swift and Trever Adams had back-to-back singles to left-center to start the seventh, then moved into scoring position on an Alex Staehely sacrifice bunt. Scott Thornburg went the opposite way,dropping a single in front of rightfielder Peter Verdin to score Swift and move Adams to third base. Adams scored the go-ahead run on Bemboom’s sharp single to center. Palazzone got the next two men on infield popouts to escape further damage.
Dufek retired the last eight men he faced, including two strikeouts in the ninth inning. It was his second complete game of the season, and first since a 1-0 whitewash of Valparaiso on March 19th in a game that took just 85 minutes.