Mason, Ohio — Trailing 8-4 in the eighth inning, a 58-minute lightning delay fueled a 10-9 comeback win over Seton Hall in the opening game of the BIG EAST Tournament on Thursday, May 23.
The win pushed the Bluejays to 36-11 on the season, while Seton Hall fell to 25-27 overall.
A lightning delay in the eighth provided the jolt Creighton needed as the Bluejay bats came to life. The lightning strike hit with one down and the bases empty in Seton Hall’s half of the frame. When play resumed Bluejay junior Mitch Boyerrelieved southpaw Ryan Connolly. Boyer got the final two outs of the frame, punctuated by a strikeout of the Pirates’ top hitter Tyler Shedler-McAvoy. Creighton’s comeback began right away as sophomore David Vilches led off the eighth with his third home run of the season, blasting a pitch over the left-center field wall. Freshman Jared Wegner followed with a four-pitch walk, then with two down in the frame junior Parker Upton made it an 8-7 contest with another home run to left-center field.
Seton Hall pushed across an insurance in the ninth, scoring on a leadoff double by Del Castillo followed by an error allowing him to take third. Del Castillo crossed the dish moments later on a wild pitch.
Trailing 9-7 in the ninth junior Will Robertson opened the inning by lining a double into the right field corner. A walk to senior Jack Strunc put the tying run on base. With two outs in the inning a wild pitch put both Bluejays in scoring position and Wegner took advantage with a two-run single up the middle. Moments later Wegner stole second, then sophomore Will Hanafan bounced a ball off the glove of Seton Hall first basemen Matt Toke’s glove. The carom took the ball to the middle of the diamond, allowing Wegner to cross with the game-winning run.
Creighton reliever John Sakowski collected the win (6-0) after allowing an unearned run in the ninth, while Seton Hall’s Hunter Waldis suffered the loss (3-1). Waldis was tagged with one run on one hit in a third of an inning.
Early in the game Seton Hall jumped on Creighton starter Mitch Ragan in the top of the first with a leadoff double from Jerry Huntzinger, followed by an RBI single from Tyler Shedler-McAvoy.
Creighton responded quickly with two in the bottom of the first as junior Isaac Collins singled to right, then junior Parker Upton drove an RBI triple to center. An RBI grounder from Jake Holton gave Creighton a 2-1 lead.
Seton Hall countered in the second with three runs on four hits in the second, highlighted by a two-run triple from Steve Grober and a sac fly off the bat of Chris Villa.
Down 4-2 as the Bluejays came to the plate in the second, a pair of walks and passed ball set the stage for a two-run single by Collins to tie the game at 4-4.
After a scoreless top of the third, the Bluejays denied by a leaping catch in left field from Seton Hall’s Christian Del Castillo. The catch turned into an inning-ending double play to keep the game 4-4.
The momentum of the defensive play fueled the Pirate offense as Seton Hall pushed across a run in the fourth, got a two-run home run from Matt Toke in the fifth and added a run in the sixth to make it 8-4.
Upton and Wegner were two offensive stars for the Bluejays as Upton finished 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, including a triple and a home run. Wegner went 1-for-2 with two critical RBI in the ninth and scored three runs.
Creighton returns to action on Friday, May 24 in a winner’s bracket game against St. John’s. Friday’s contest is scheduled to begin at 5:32 pm (CT).