The Creighton baseball team used a dominating performance from junior pitcher Ty Blach to upset the No. 1 seeded Indiana State, 5-0, in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Blach threw a one-hit, complete game shutout, walking a pair of batters and striking out 6 in the win.
The Bluejays advance to play No. 4 seeded Illinois State in the winners bracket game tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch set for 4:00 pm from Springfield, Mo.
Blach was stellar on the mound for the Bluejays in the opening round game, retiring 18 straight Sycamore batters from the third through ninth innings. The lone hit surrendered came in the second inning, an infield hit that Alex Staehely stopped up the middle, but Rob Ort beat out the throw at first.
The complete game for Blach is his third this season. He has now thrown 27.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, holding a 3-0 mark and surrendering just 10 hits and allowing three walks.
After being silenced through the first four innings, the Bluejay offense gave Blach some run support in the top of the fifth inning. Mike Gerber singled through the right side to lead off the inning, sacrificed to second on a Staehely sacrifice bunt. Jake Peter grounded out to the right side to push Gerber to third.
Creighton then put together its two-out rally. Brennan Murphy drove in the first run of the game with a single to center field. The Jays drew a lucky break, as Murphy was nearly picked off by Sean Manaea. The Sycamore pitcher caught Murphy leaning and got him in a pickle. Murphy scrambled back to first base safely when Sycamore shortstop Tyler Wampler dropped the ball.
The near-out led to two more runs for the Bluejays. Brad McKewon and Nick Judkins both drew walks to load the bases before Chance Ross singled back up the middle to score both Murphy and McKewon. Creighton led 3-0 after five complete.
The Bluejays knocked Manaea off the mound in the top of the seventh inning when they added a pair of runs to pad their lead. Murphy singled through the right side to start the inning, advancing to second on a McKewon sacrifice bunt. Judkins then beat out an infield single, putting runners on the corners for Ross, who singled to left field to drive in his third run of the game.
A Bemboom single to right field loaded the bases full of Jays, forcing Rick Heller to make a pitching change and bring in Chris Machado. Scott Thornburg then drove in the fifth run of the game with a single back up the middle, giving Creighton the 5-0 lead heading to the seventh inning stretch.
Blach continued his dominance, retiring the Sycamores in order until he surrendered a two-out walk to Kyle Burnam in the bottom of the ninth inning, one of just two walks issued on the day. Fittingly, Blach finished the game by striking out Jeremy Lucas, one of his six strikeouts in the game.
Creighton outhit the Sycamores 10-1 on the afternoon, led by Ross’ 3-5 day. The senior thirdbaseman drove in three of Creighton’s five runs on the afternoon, tying his career high. He also helped to save the one-hitter for Blach, diving toward the line to stop a potential extra-base grounder late in the game.