Senior Mitch Ragan threw 7.1 innings of one-run ball as Creighton Baseball moved into a tie for first place in the BIG EAST with a 10-1 win over visiting Villanova on Thursday, May 16.
Creighton improved to 33-11 (12-4 BIG EAST) with its third straight victory, and eighth in its last nine games. Villanova dropped to 13-36 with the loss (4-11 BIG EAST) while being eliminated from contention for a spot in next week's BIG EAST Championship.
After leaving the bases loaded without scoring in both the third and fourth innings, the Creighton offense broke through in the fifth frame against Villanova starter Jimmy Kingsbury (5-5). With one out junior Parker Upton singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on junior Jake Holton's 50th RBI of the spring on a sharp hit single through the left side. Holton would come around to score a few pitches later as junior Will Robertson singled to right, making it 2-0. Robertson crossed the plate two batters later on senior Jordan Hovey's double off the wall in center as the lead grew to 3-0.
Ragan dominated the Villanova offense through six innings before giving up a homer to Nick Lorusso on the third pitch in the top of the seventh inning, Lorusso's fourth blast of the 2019 campaign. The senior right-hander allowed just two hits in the first six frames before allowing three hits in the seventh. He stranded the tying run on second base in the seventh, getting JP Radvany to ground out to second.
Creighton wasted no time expanding its lead with three runs in the home half of the seventh against Wildcat reliever Mike Schwartz. Schwartz walked four consecutive men at one point, then a bases-loaded free pass to sophomore David Vilches brought home Robertson. Two batters later, a single to left by sophomore Will Hanafan scored senior Jack Strunc and Hovey to move CU's lead to 6-1.
Ragan (8-2) allowed a single before inducing a foul out to end his night after 7.1 innings of six-hit ball. His nine strikeouts were one shy of his season-best and he took over the team lead in victories with the win. Junior John Sakowski came in and retired the next two men to quickly end the Wildcats' threat.
The Bluejays added four insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against VU's third pitcher, Zac Lutner. Upton walked and scored on Holton's 13th homer of the season. Robertson would reach on an error, advance to third on Strunc's double, and score on a sac fly by Hovey. CU's final tally came on a long homer to left-center by David Vilches, who compiled his third straight multi-hit game.
Junior Mitch Boyer closed out the win with an eight-pitch ninth inning.
Vilches, Hanafan, Strunc and Holton each had a pair of hits, while Vilches, Hanafan, Hovey and Holton each drove in multiple runs for a Bluejay offense that generated 11 hits and walked 10 times.
Six different players had one hit each for Villanova, with Lorusso's homer accounting for the lone score.