(Photo – Kenny Larabee)
The Creighton Bluejays emerged victorious Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, taking the season series over Nebraska in a close game, 2-1 the final score.
It was a poor offensive night for both teams. After a relatively uneventful first couple innings, things got more interesting in the third. Denson Hull, who has started every game against Nebraska this season, was able to record the first out of the inning. However, he was replaced on the mound by Ben Dotzler directly following that. In 2 and 1/3rd innings of work, Hull struck out two and did not allow a hit in seven batters faced.
Facing his first batter in the inning, Dotzler immediately gave up a double to Jaxon Hallmark, who found the gap in left center field. Hallmark eventually made his way over to third a couple of at bats later on a wild pitch which allowed him to set up shop 90 feet away from home plate. The Huskers could not break the stalemate though, as freshman infielder Spencer Schwellenbach popped up to first base to end Nebraska’s threat in the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Husker pitcher Ethan Frazier, who received the first start of his career Tuesday night, also did not last long. He was yanked in favor of Ben Klenke. Frazier was solid through the first two innings, but surrendered two consecutive base hits after quickly recording the first two outs of the third. Klenke was able to get out of the inning, as he got the first batter he faced to fly out to left field.
Nebraska’s inability to capitalize in the third came back to haunt them the very next inning, as Creighton jumped out ahead in the top of the fourth on an RBI single off the bat of Jared Wegener. It took the Huskers until the sixth inning to finally even the odds. Joe Acker hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Schwellenbach, who had taken third base on wild pitch the play prior.
The Bluejays snatched the lead right back on a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth from Jack Strunc. That homer wound up being the deciding run in the game, despite the fact that Nebraska had a golden chance to take the lead in the bottom of the ninth.
The Huskers had two men on and two out for pinch hitter Mojo Hagge, however he flew out to end the game, giving Creighton the 2-1 win and the series victory to boot, by a margin of two games to one.
NU head coach Darin Erstad said on the Husker Sports Network following the game that his team needs to be more consistent offensively. “We just need to get the bats going,” Erstad said. “We haven’t been able to find the holes the last couple weeks. Obviously, that’s going to be very important with conference play coming up.”
Erstad said that this week the Huskers will be focusing on small ball to try and correct their offensive woes. “We’ll address that the next couple days… It’s safe to say we’ll be doing some bunting as well,” Erstad said.
As is often the case in Nebraska-Creighton midweek games, both the Bluejays and the Huskers went through numerous pitchers. The two teams combined used 12 total pitchers.
The win was awarded to John Sakowski. He’s now 3-0 on the year. The loss was handed to Mike Waldron, who is now 2-1 on the season. Bobby Kametas earned the save, his fifth of the year. Next, NU will face off against Illinois for a three game series at Haymarket Park. Coverage for all of those games can be found on KLIN.