OMAHA, Neb. — The Creighton bullpen threw 7.2 scoreless innings as the Bluejay baseball team rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to defeat South Dakota State, 9-4, on Tuesday, April 10th.
Creighton has now won nine times in its last 10 games, improving to 19-7. The Bluejays have now won nine straight meetings over SDSU, which dropped to 7-20.
South Dakota State jumped on the Bluejays early, plating two runs in both the first and second innings to vault to a 4-0 lead. Phil Velez drove home Anthony Schneider and Nick Smith with a single in the first inning, and the Jackrabbits doubled the lead to 4-0 in the second after Nick Johnson’s RBI single and an RBI groundout from Newt Johnson.
Creighton took the lead with a five-run fifth inning, chasing SDSU starter Andrew Zimmerman and two other relievers in the process. The rally started with a Garrett Gilbert double, the first career hit for the backstop. Alex Marrow came on in relief to issue a 10-pitch walk to Clark Brinkman. Sophomore Isaac Collins followed with a sacrifice bunt to advanced both runners, then junior Michael Emodi walked to load the bases. Emodi’s walk brought about another call to the bullpen, this time for southpaw Bret Barnett. Will Robertson singled to right to tie the game, scoring Gilbert and Brinkman. Thomas Luevano then singled to the pitcher on a chopper that gave CU its first lead at 5-4. Jason Allbery singled to left to plate Robertson, and Allbery later scored from third base on an errant pickoff throw by Barnett.
Creighton tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the home half of the seventh inning. Consecutive walks to Luevano and Allbery to open the frame came back to bite SDSU. Luevano scored on Strunc’s bunt single when an errant throw got away, and pinch-hitter Parker Uptondrove home Allbery with a sacrifice fly to stretched the Bluejay margin to 9-4.
Ian Evans (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory for the Bluejays, authoring 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Denson Hull. Evans gave way to Evan Johnson, who added two scoreless frames. Justin Wick made his Creighton debut by recording four outs before Nate Shoemaker closed the door in his debut to earn the last two outs.
Strunc finished 3-for-4 and was a triple shy of the cycle, while Luevano was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Nick Smith paced SDSU with three hits, lifting his batting average to .308.
Creighton hosts Kansas on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.