Creighton put up four runs in the first half of the ballgame Tuesday afternoon, but the bats went silent and the bullpen surrendered five runs in the final three innings of play to give the Hawkeyes a 5-3 win. The loss drops Creighton to 21-26 heading into the final regular-season series against Wichita State starting on Thursday.
Nick Judkins led the Bluejays offensively, reaching base every time he came to the plate. The senior had three hits, two walks, an RBI and a run scored to pace the Jays, but it wouldn't be enough to get a win.
Chance Ross led off the home half of the first inning with a single through the left side, leading to Creighton's first run of the game. Ross advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brad McKewon. After Nick Judkins walked, Anthony Bemboom drove a sacrifice fly to center to push across Ross.
The Bluejays then took advantage of a pair of walks and a pair of two-out hits to score the second run of the game in the bottom of the third. McKewon and Judkins picked up back-to-back singles to knock Iowa starting pitcher Ricky Sandquist off the mound. Ben Bergman came in to pitch, walking Bemboom to load the bases.
He then tossed a five-pitch walk to Mike Gerber, forcing in McKewon for the second run of the game and a 2-0 Bluejay lead.
The top of the order again came through in the bottom of the fifth to push a pair of runs for Creighton. After Ross was hit by a pitch, he stole second for his 12th stolen base of the year. A sacrifice bunt from McKewon moved Ross to third before Judkins drove a ball through the right side to score Ross.
Bemboom then singled through the left side, putting a pair of runners on base. A throwing error by relief pitcher Taylor Kaufman allowed Gerber to reach safely and Judkins to score from second. A walk to Staehely ended Kaufman's day, as Iowa brought in Tim Fangman win the bases loaded. Fangman forced Thornburg to hit into a double play, ending the rally for the Jays.
Iowa got on the board in the top of the seventh inning, scoring three runs off reliever Nick Musec before the Jays brought in Chase Webb to close the frame. Mike McQuillan led off the inning with a single before back-to-back doubles by Phil Keppler and Chett Zeise pushed across the first two runs for the Hawkeyes.
A single to pinch hitter Anthony Torres pushed Musec off the mound, bringing Webb in with runners on first and third. A sacrifice fly from Nick Day pulled the Hawkeyes within one before Webb struck out Kris Goodman and got Eric Toole to ground out to end the frame, Creighton holding a 4-3 lead.
The Hawkeyes then tied the game in the top of the eighth inning. After allowing a lead off single, Webb was replaced by Mark Winkelman. A sacrifice bunt moved the Hawkeye runner to second before a walk put a pair of runners on base. The Hawkeyes then executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. A single to left field from Phil Keppler pushed across the tying run.
Iowa scored what would be the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Torres doubled down the left field line, advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt. Bryan Niedbalski then pinch hit for the Hawkeyes, driving in the run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Winkelman picked up the loss on the afternoon, throwing 2.0 innings and allowing one earned run on two hits. He drops to 1-1 on the season in a team-high 31 appearances.
The Bluejays close out regular-season play at the end of this week, hosting Wichita State in a three-game series starting Thursday night. First pitch on both Thursday and Friday night is set for 7:00 pm, with the series finale set for Saturday at 1:00 pm.