PEORIA, Ill. - Creighton rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to even its Missouri Valley Conference series at Bradley (25-18-1, 8-9 MVC) as the Bluejays (17-23, 4-12 MVC) earned a 7-4 victory Saturday afternoon at O'Brien Field.
The visitors used two hit batters, a walk, an error, two sacrifice bunts and two base hits to rally from a 4-3 deficit and send Bradley to its first loss this season when leading after eight innings. Bradley was 22-0 this year when it took a lead to the ninth. Closer Danny Gifford (4-1) managed to record just one out against the seven batters he faced in the ninth to take the loss.
Creighton second baseman Jake Peter drove in the tying run with a single up the middle and designated hitter Brennan Murphy drove home the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze bunt. Chance Ross followed with an RBI double and Murphy came around to score when right fielder Bob Schuch's throw to second got away.
The ninth-inning collapse spoiled a strong effort by Bradley starter Justin Ziegler, who held the Bluejays to three runs on five hits in his 6.0 innings. Aided by first baseman Jerrod Eigsti's first career home run, a 2-run blast in the second inning and a bases loaded base on balls by catcher Derek Sprout in the fifth that put the Braves in front, Ziegler turned a 4-3 lead over to the the usually reliable bullpen.
The fifth pitcher of the game for Creighton, side-arming right-hander Reese McGraw (3-5), threw two perfect innings to earn the win.
The teams will play the rubber game in their 3-game weekend series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at O'Brien Field. It will be Mom's Day at the ballpark, where the Braves will be wearing pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness. The first 100 fans also will receive pink t-shirts and the Bradley Baseball mothers will join Bradley University President Joanne Glasser for a ceremonial first pitch.