The win gave the Bluejays a doubleheader sweep of Georgetown for the second consecutive season and secured a series win over the Hoyas. Creighton moved to 17-9 following Saturday’s action and 2-1 in BIG EAST play, while Georgetown fell to 13-14 overall and 1-2 in conference action.
Up 4-1 with three outs remaining, freshman Ethan DeCaster retired the first Hoyas hitter of the ninth on a harmless fly ball to left. After a walk, head coach Ed Servais went to the bullpen for closer David Gerber.
Having already worked a scoreless inning in the first game of the doubleheader, Gerber was not as sharp as usual. A Georgetown single put runners at first and second, then Gerber allowed just his second walk of the season to load the bags. The walk to pinch-hitter, Alex Bernauer, came on just four pitches and caused Servais to go to the pen again for Highberger.
Michael Derenzi fouled off the first four pitches Highberger threw, then reached on an infield single to make it 4-2. Two pitches later Highberger got Jake Kuzbel to tap into an RBI ground out to first then issued an intentional pass to Nick Collins to load the bags once more.
Faced with a dream scenario of the bases loaded and two outs in a one-run game, Highberger went right after A.C. Carter. To the Georgetown first baseman’s credit he fouled off two pitches then took a ball. Staring in at a 1-2 count, Highberger won the battle and the game with a ball down the middle that caught Carter looking.
“Every baseball player dreams about this scenario, today I got to live it,” said Highberger. “With a 1-2 count, I was trying to throw something up there he wouldn’t touch. We went with the fastball and figured if he got any of it, I have a great defense behind me.”
The drama of the bottom of the ninth might have gone differently had Creighton not added an insurance run in the top of the frame. With one down, sophomore Daniel Woodrow lined a single to left field, then moved to second thanks to a walk to senior David Wiedeman. The reigning BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year came through for the Bluejays once again as junior Reagan Fowler smacked an RBI single through the left side to push the Bluejay lead to 4-1.
Creighton’s first three runs came on single tallies as well. The Bluejays first run crossed in the top of the third as freshman Luke Hornaski laced a one-out single through the left side. Woodrow followed with a single through the right side to chase Horanski to third. With Wiedeman at the dish, Woodrow took off for second. The throw bounced into center, allowing Horanski to come home for the first run of the game.
Junior Ryan Fitzgerald made it a two-run game with a solo home run in the fourth inning over the right field wall. It was Fitzgerald’s second round tripper of the season and his third career long ball. His first career home run also came against Georgetown last season, the first inside-the-park grand slam to center in the history of TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The third Creighton run of the game came in the seventh as junior Joey Mancuso and Woodrow each bounced one-out singles through the right side. A walk to Wiedeman loaded the bases and Fowler delivered an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
Georgetown got its first run in the bottom of the seventh on a double from Eric Webber and an RBI single by Evan Ryan.
Junior Connor Miller picked up the win (3-0) for the Bluejays, tossing three innings of scoreless relief. It was Highberger’s second career save as he also earned one as a freshman in 2012.
Woodrow led the Bluejay offense with a 4-for-5 day, while Fowler was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Bluejays do not play a midweek game but will return to action on Friday, April 10 as Creighton hosts Xavier for a three-game series beginning at 6:30 pm.