The Creighton baseball team picked up its fourth straight win on Wednesday night, knocking out Nebraska Omaha 6-1 in front of 3,213 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The win improves Creighton to 20-23 on the season, while ending UNO's first season at the Division I level with a 12-36 mark.
Creighton starter Erik Mattingly picked up his first win of the 2012 campaign, throwing the first inning and striking out one batter while not surrendering a hit. Mattingly now holds a 1.82 ERA at home this season, the lowest of any Bluejay starting pitcher.
After shutting down the Mavericks in order to open the game, the Bluejays pushed across an unearned run in the home half of the first. Chance Ross reached via error and then stole second to move into scoring position. Back-to-back outs brought up Anthony Bemboom, who singled through the left side. Ross raced around the bases and scored to give Creighton the 1-0 lead early.
The turnstile on the Bluejays bullpen rotated freely for the second straight night on Wednesday, as the first four pitchers each tossed 1.0 innings. Creighton's first three pitchers, Mattingly, Andrew Urban and Brandon Koenigstein did not allow a single baserunner in the first three frames, striking out one in the opening three.
The Mavs picked up their first hit of the game in the fourht inning, when reliever Shane Liska surrendered a one-out single to Colby McCord. Liska struck out a pair of batters in the inning and induced a ground out to first base to strand the lone base runner in the first four frames for the Mavericks.
Creighton knocked UNO starting pitcher off the mound in the bottom of the fifth, stringing together three hits and taking advantage of a pair of UNO errors to push across five runs. Brennan Murphy led off the frame with a walk before Ross again reached via defensive error. Brad McKewon then pushed a sacrifice bunt attempt between the Maverick defense, loading the bases with the first hit of the inning.
A Nick Judkins single to right center pushed across one run, moving the other runners up 90 feet. UNO brought in Matt Tew, who dominated the Bluejays in the first game between the two teams. Creighton had the upper hand this time, with Alex Staehely pushing across a run when he drew a four-pitch walk as the first batter Tew faced.
Mike Gerber then dropped a single in front of UNO right fielder Mark Waldron, that rolled under his glove and allowed all three runners on base to score. The Bluejays took a 6-1 lead after the fifth inning.
The two teams then exchanged scoreless frames, before the Mavericks put up a single tally in the final frame off Creighton reliever Reese McGraw. A lead-off single to Brady Hohl ended up spoiling the shutout bid, as Hohl advanced to second on a defensive indifference, to third on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit up the middle.
The Jays stay at home and host Dallas Baptist in a three-game series this weekend. Friday and Saturday night first pitch will be at 7:00 pm with a 1:00 pm start on Sunday afternoon.
NOTES: Creighton has now scored in the first inning in three of the last four games and has scored first in all four wins ... Creighton improves to 16-7 when scoring first this season ... After picking up 16 hits last night in the 8-1 win over Nebraska, Creighton's offense continued to be red-hot, stringing together nine hits on Wednesday night ... Mike Gerber finished the night 1-4 with a pair of RBI, marking his team-leading fourth multiple RBI game at home this season. He has also reached base safely in the last 10 home games ... Jake Peter is right behind Gerber. The freshman drew a walk tonight to keep his reaching base safely at home streak alive. It is now at nine games ... Chase Webb tossed 1.0 innings of scoreless relief on Wednesday night. The senior has now thrown 17.0 innings at home without surrendering an earned run, while only giving up nine hits ... Creighton now holds a 54-53 advantage over UNO, with each team winning a game this season ... The Jays enter the weekend series with Dallas Baptist on fire offensively. Collectively in the four-game win streak, Creighton is hitting nearly .300, with Scott Thornburg (.500), Mike Gerber (.462) and Alex Staehely (.412) are all hitting above .400. On the mound, Creighton is holding opponents to a 1.75 ERA, surrendering just seven earned runs and holding opponents to a .197 batting average against.