Corvallis, Ore. — Down 7-4 heading to the ninth inning with its season on the brink, the No. 22 Creighton Baseball team used a seven-run ninth inning to stun Michigan with an 11-7 victory on Sunday night in the Corvallis Regional.
Creighton’s (41-12) dramatic rally forces a winner-take-all rematch against the Wolverines (43-19) on Monday night at 6:06 p.m. CST with a trip to the Super Regionals on the line. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
Refusing to give up the Bluejays loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth on a walk to sophomore Will Hanafan, a single from junior Isaac Collins and a walk to junior Parker Upton. Junior Jake Holton blasted a sac fly to the deepest part of the park, straight away center, allowing all three Creighton runners to move up. Junior Will Robertson followed with an RBI double off the wall in left, but Upton could only advance to third as he made certain the ball wasn’t caught. Michigan intentionally walked Jack Strunc to load the bags, then an unintentional walk to Jordan Hovey pulled the Bluejays even at 7-7. Junior Jason Allbery blooped a single down the right field line that gave CU the 8-7 lead. The flurry continued when Strunc scored on a passed ball, and Hanafan’s two-run single gave Creighton some insurance heading to the bottom of the ninth frame.
Creighton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Collins laced a leadoff double to left, took third on a sacrifice bunt from Upton and scored via an RBI groundout by junior Jake Holton.
The Bluejay lead was pushed to 2-0 in the top of the third as Hanafan connected on his first home run of the season, lifting a ball over the wall in left with one down in the third.
Michigan responded in the third as Jimmy Kerr blasted a three-run home run over the wall in center field to give the Wolverines the lead. Michigan’s Jordan Nwogu and Jesse Franklin were along for the ride, reaching on singles to open the frame.
The Wolverines added a run in the sixth, getting consecutive doubles from the bottom of their order as Joe Donovan and Riley Bertram made it a 4-2 contest.
Michigan tacked on a pair of runs off Creighton closer Bobby Kametas in the seventh, the first runs he had allowed since April 12th, on a two-run double off just past a diving Holton at first.
Upton made it a 6-3 game in the top of the eighth with a solo home run to left-center. Creighton went on to load the bases in the frame as Holton was hit by a pitch, then Strunc and Hovey drew free passes. Allbery was hit by a pitch to make it 6-4, but the rally ended there.
Michigan got one of the runs back in its half of the eighth as Kerr blasted his second home run of the game and fourth of the Regional to make it 7-4 before CU’s comeback.
Kametas improved to 3-0 on the year while throwing a season-high three innings and 54 pitches.
Creighton’s comeback spoiled a strong outing from Michigan starter Tommy Henry, who allowed three runs in 7.1 innings but was lifted after surrendering Upton’s homer. Four relievers combined to nail down the final five outs, but not before surrendering four hits, six walks and eight runs.