Baseball Travels to Nebraska on Tuesday
2012 Creighton Baseball
Creighton (14-15) at Nebraska (22-12)
Tuesday, April 10 • 6:35 pm
Big Ten Network • 1180 AM KOIL
Hawks Field at Haymarket Park • www.gocreighton.com
The First of Three
Tuesday marks the first meeting between Creighton and Nebraska of the 2012 season. The Huskers hold a 70-41-2 record over the Bluejays, including taking two of three last season. Creighton comes into the game following an 8-0 shutout of Indiana State in the series finale on Sunday, while Nebraska put up four runs in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Iowa 9-8 in Lincoln.
The two teams will play both games two and three at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha later this year, first on April 24 and then the series finale on May 8.
With the Call
Fans unable to make it out to the ballpark can listen to the Creighton and Nebraska on Tuesday on KOIL 1180 AM. Bluejay baseball is always called by John Bishop and David Gustafson. Live stats and a complete game wrap-up will be available through the www.gocreighton.com website. On Twitter? Get inning updates by following @CU_baseball and @gocreighton.
Tuesday’s game will mark the second straight Creighton baseball game on national television, as the Big Ten Network will televise the first CU/NU game of the season. Kevin Kugler joins Danan Hughes with the call.
Creighton moves out of Valley play for the next four games. The Bluejays play at Nebraska on Tuesday before hosting South Dakota State on Friday and Sunday, sandwiching Iowa in a single game on Saturday afternoon.
• The Creighton pitching staff again put up good numbers last week, holding a 2.08 ERA in the third weekend of conference play. Five different pitchers finished the weekend with flawless marks, highlighted by Erik Mattingly’s 9.0 inning, no-hit effort in the Saturday afternoon game.
• The Creighton offense had a little extra pop in the bats last week, hitting a TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record seven doubles against Kansas and totalling 14 on the week.
• Creighton’s bullpen has allowed just 13-of-55 inherited runners to score this year, and stranded all 11 inherited runners in the past seven games, including one in the 8-0 shutout on Sunday afternoon.
• Shane Liska threw a Creighton career-high seven strikeouts on Sunday, besting his previous best of five, which he did in both of his last two starts
• In his three appearances in MVC play, Liska has thrown 12.1 inning, allowing just one run (a home run against Evansville) and striking out 17 batters
• The Bluejays scored more runs (6) in the first four innings of the game against Indiana State on Sunday than they have in any full Valley game this season
• Creighton has now posted two shutouts this season, a 2-0 win over BYU and the 8-0 win over Indiana State.
• Indiana State came into the game nation’s leading offense, averaging 8.2 runs per game. The Creighton pitching staff held the Sycamores to just 8 runs combined in the three game series.
• Nick Judkins became the third player this season to pick up a pair of doubles in a single game for Creighton, ripping a pair of doubles against Indiana State on Sunday. Scott Thornburg and Jake Peter have also accomplished the feat this season.
• Creighton set a TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record on Tuesday, April 3, by hitting seven doubles in a single game. The previous best at the park was six, hit by Creighton in a 16-6 win over Bradley on May 1 of last season.
• Defense has always been one of the strong suits of any Ed Servais team, and nothing is different this season. Creighton is first in the Missouri Valley Conference with a .981 fielding percentage, which also puts them third in the nation this week.
• Creighton finished March with a 9-10 record, the first time the Jays have finished the month with a sub-.500 record in Ed Servais’ tenure (finished 7-10 in 2003).
• Nick Judkins led the Bluejays in the month of March, hitting .351 with 17 runs driven in.
The Bluejays are coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, finishing 2011 with a 45-16 overall record. Creighton won the Missouri Valley Conference both regular-season and tournament titles in 2011, marking the first time in program history the Jays have claimed both in a single season.
Creighton returns seven starting position players from the squad last season, led by centerfielder Mike Gerber and senior catcher Anthony Bemboom, both which have been tabbed preseason All-MVC picks. Gerber finished with a .280 average last season, playing flawless defense in center, while Bemboom shot down seven runners attempting to steal and finished with a .233 average.
Highlighting a deep pitching staff will be junior Ty Blach, who has already picked up preseason All-America nods. The southpaw held a 10-3 record last season, fanning 100 batters in 102.0 innings of work. Out of the pen, which lost just one pitcher from last season (Jack VanLeur), look for Kurt Spomer (13 saves in 2011),Mark Winkelman (35 appearances) and Reese McGraw (35 appearances, 5 saves) to headline one of the deepest staff’s in Ed Servais’’ tenure.
The Bluejays are led offensively on the season by Nick Judkins. The senior holds a .342 batting average, starting all 29 games at first base. Judkins leads the team with 21 RBI and 51 total bases. He hit .474 over the week in California to lead the Bluejays to four wins. Chance Ross started off the season in the leadoff position, and is currently tied for the team-high 17 wallks and sits in second with a .426 on-base percentage.
At The Plate
• Creighton has struggled offensivley this season, with just a pair of starters hitting over .300 (Nick Judkins .333 and Brad McKewon .302).
• Whle Creighton is struggling, the team is getting it’s leadoff batter on 31% of the time, and is hitting .240 with runners on the bases.
• Michael Mutcheson made his first appearance in 23 games last Tuesday night, finishing 1-3 from the plate with a walk and a double. He missed the middle of the season with a back injury after starting the first two games of the season at second base.
• Nick Judkins and Chance Ross led the Bluejay offense last weekend, finishing the weekend a combined .438 (14-32) from the plate, with six doubles, one triple and six runs driven in.
• Nick Judkins has not struck out in the last eight games, and has a team low nine strikeouts on the season (nine strikeouts in 114 at-bats this season).
• Nick Judkins finished the North Dakota series with a team-high six hits, driving in three runs and scoring two of his own.
• Nick Judkins reached base safely five of the six times in the Sunday game at Pacific, reaching twice by hit-by-pitch, twice by bunt and once with a single.
• Scott Thornburg reached base safely four times in the last game against North Dakota. The senior, who has made starts as both the DH and catcher, walked a season-high two times, was hit by a pitch and had a single.
• Alex Staehely hit his first home run of the 2012 season against Evansville, also marking the first hit at TD Amertirade Park Omaha in 2012.
• Alex Staehely finished the first homestand with a .250 average, the best five-game series for the junior to that point.
• In the games last week against UNO and Evansville, Staehely led the team with a .340 average, marking his best weekend of the season.
• Mike Gerber became the first Bluejay since Darin Ruf in 2008 to hit a grand slam. Gerber drove ont out in the first inning of the 12-3 win over North Dakota.
• Gabriel Thibodeaux drove out a pair of home runs in game two against North Dakota. The senior, who has seen most of his time as the designated hitter, is now tied for the team lead with a pair of bombs.
• Petr Zyma’s number was called for the first time this season, but the junior from the Czech Republic wouldn’t get an at-bat. Zyma was plunked in the side, one of nine batters to be hit by a pitch on the weekend at Pacific. Zyma now has three at-bats, with one hit (a home run against North Dakota) and a pair of runs scored.
• Brennan Murphy was a perfect 3-3 in stolen bases while in California last week and now sits 5-5 on the season. Chance Ross leads the Bluejays at 6-6 on the season. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 52, but a player hasn’t stolen more than 27 bases since 2002.
On the pitcher’s mound, six different Bluejay pitchers have made starts this season. Ty Blach continues to lead the team, holding a 2.47 ERA in his nine starts, a number that sits tied for first in the NCAA this season. The junior southpaw has tossed a team-high 47.1 innings this season, striking out 32 batters and holding opponents to a .231 average against. Mark Winkelman leads the staff with 18 appearances on the season, holding a 1-0 record in relief on the mound. The Bluejays posted their lone shutout of the season against BYU, baffling the BYU hitters in the 2-0 win on March 13 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
• The Creighton pitching staff finished the MVC opening weekend with a 5.25 ERA, the highest in a single weekend this season.
• The Bluejays rebounded this last weekend and held a 2.68 ERA against Nebraska Omaha and the three game series against Evansville.
• The last time the Creighton bullpen allowed an inherited runner to score was March 25 at Missouri State. The bullpen has surrendered 10 runs in that time span, but none which were inherited.
• Four different Bluejays put up scoreless innings last week, with Nick Musec leading the way with 8.1 innings of scoreless work.
• Chase Webb has now thrown 10.1 consecutive innings without surrendering a run.
• The Bluejay pitching staff have a 1.87 ERA at home this season, with six different pitchers holding scoreless innings.
• The Creighton pitching staff had a combined 0.50 ERA in the first two games at home this season, allowing just one earned run in the two games combined.
• Shane Liska made his first start as a Bluejay on Sunday, tying his Creighton single-game high with five strike outs in 4.1 innings of work.
• Brandon Koenigstein picked up his first win of the season on Wednesday night, March 14 against La Tech, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit.
• Chase Webb has turned into one of the strongest bullpen arms, holding a 3.12 ERA in 12 appearances. The senior is holding opponents to just a .172 average against.
• Ty Blach and Reese McGraw have each been named MVC Pitchers of the Week already this season.
• Ty Blach and Nick Musec had long outings in their last starts, Musec going 7.0 innings and Blach 6.2 innings. They both faced the minimum batters in five innings, and are the lone two pitchers on the staff with three wins on the season.
• Freshman Mark Lukowski made his first appearances on the mound in California; Lukowski tossed a pair of innings at Sacramento State and Pacific.
Meet Today’s Starter • Ty Blach
• Ty Blach has made two appearances against Nebraska, striking out five batters in 3.0 innings of work.
• Ty Blach was named MVC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 21 after throwing 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball in the season opener at UCA (2/17). Struck out six.
• Struck out six batters in 8.0 scoreless innings at Portland (2/24).
• Picked up his second win in 6.2 innings of work at Pacific (3/19).
• He allowed seven hits and one earned run while striking out six batters at Pacific (3/9).
• Tied his career-high with nine strikeouts against North Dakota (3/16).
• Made his first MVC start of the season at Missouri State, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on five hits (3/23).
• In Blach’s last four starts (since MVC play started), Blach has earned three no-decisions and one loss, his roughest stretch in his career. He has allowed 12 runs, all earned, on 17 hits and struck out 14 batters vs. 9 walks in the same span.
Meet Nebraska (22-12, 5-4 Big Ten)
Nebraska comes into the opening game of the series with a 22-12 record, including taking two of three from Iowa last weekend. As a team, the Huskers are hitting .320, with 264 runs scored and 381 hits, all numbers which rank in the top-five of the nation.
Leading the way offensively is Michael Pritchard, who is hitting .405 on the season with a team-leaading 32 runs scored. Seven other daily starters are hitting over .300, including Pat Kelly who is hitting .366 with three doubles, two triples and four home runs for a team high .634 slugging percentage.
The team is aggressive on the bases, safely swiping 38 of 52 attempts so far this season. Chad Christensen leads the team, 6-7 on the base paths.
Tuesday’s starter, Jon Keller, is one of eight players who have made at least one start on the season. Keller has eight starts, holding a 4.17 ERA while allowing opponents to hit better than .300 (.307). Look for Travis Huber to make an appearance out of the bullpen, as he leads the team with five saves in 16.2 innings of work.
Nebraska has committed 35 errors, holding a .974 fielding percentage.
Meet the Coaches
Creighton: Ed Servais (9th Season): Ed Servais enters his ninth season leading the Creighton baseball program in 2012. He is the winningest coach in program history, surpassing Jack Dahm (283) and Jim Hendry (289) in 2011, when he led his team to a 45-16 overall record, Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Servais was named the MVC Coach of the Year following the 2011 season, the fourth time he has earned the award in his eight years at Creighton.
Servais currently holds a .644 winning percentage at the helm of the Jays, the top number in school history. He has taken the Bluejys to three NCAA Tournaments, including 2011. He has also led the Bluejays to an average of 37 wins in each of the last eight seasons.
Servais’ tenure has ranked among the best as a Creighton head coach, as he has guided the team to a 312-178 record, placing him second in the Missouri Valley Conference, fifth in the Midwest, and in the top 20 in the nation in winning percentage during that time. The Bluejays are one of just 10 schools in the Midwest to earn five or more NCAA Regional berths in the last 13 years, and one of two in the MVC along with Wichita State. Servais also has led the Jays to the MVC Tournament title in 2007 and regular-season crown in 2005, and both in the 2011 season.
His teams have finished among the nation’s best in fielding percentage and sacrifice bunts every season, including 2011, when the Bluejays finished fourth in fielding percentage (.980) and fourth in sacrifice bunts, with 84. Since coming to Creighton, Servais’ teams have committed the fewest errors in the nation, while holding a .977 fielding percentage in the last eight seasons, which also leads the country.
Nebraska: Darin Erstad (1st Season): Darin Erstad was named the 23rd head coach of the Nebraska baseball program - and the fifth since 1947 - on June 2, 2011.
A two-time Major League All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Erstad spent the 2011 season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Husker program. In his role, he helped lead a pair of Huskers to All-Big 12 honors, including third baseman Cody Asche. Asche became NU’s first position player to earn All-America honors since 2006, as he hit .327 with 12 home runs and produced a school-record 27 doubles en route to second-team All-America honors in 2011.
One of the most decorated players in Nebraska baseball history, Erstad was a first-team All-American and finalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in 1995, before embarking on a 14-year career in Major League Baseball.
With the two schools located less than an hour apart, Creighton and Nebraska are familiar foes on the baseball field. The two schools have met up 113 times, with the Huskers holding a 70-41-2 record. When playing in Lincoln, the Huskers hold a 34-27-1 advantage over the Bluejays.
Creighton won the most recent game, a 9-8 win in Omaha last season. Nebraska holds a 17-10 lead in one-run games.
Under head coach Ed Servais, the Huskers lead 16-9 on the series, winning the first two games last season before the Bluejays won 9-8 to avoid the series sweep. Nebraska defeated the Jays 8-5 in Lincoln on April 5 and came from a run down to win 2-1 in Omaha.
Bluejay head coach Ed Servais is quickly approaching his 500th career win. The skipper elipsed his 300th win at Creighton in the 2012 season opener, but is now just five wins away (495-262-1) from his 500th overall win as a college head coach.
The Bluejays won the final game of the series last season, 9-8, preventing the first three-game sweep for the Huskers since 2008. That season, the Huskers were ranked #10 for the first two meetings and moved to #6 in the final meeting, posting wins of 4-3, 16-7 and 8-1 over the Jays. The Bluejays have never swept a series from the Huskers under Ed Servais.
The Best of the Best
In the greatest pitching performance of his career, Bluejay pitcher Erik Mattingly went 9.0 innings without surrendering a hit and striking out three in his Saturday start against Indiana State. The right hander hit one batter in the first inning and another reached by error, but Mattingly retired the rest of the Sycamore lineup in order in the 2-0, 12-inning loss for the Bluejays. Mattingly’s outing would have been the firstnine-inning no-hitter in Creighton baseball history.
On the season, Mattingly has a team-low 1.42 ERA in eight appearances and three starts. He has struck out 13 batters and is holding opponents to a .167 batting average against.
Mattingly was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, as well as picking up MVC Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday.
Creighton has frequently tried to save its pitching staff for league play during its midweek games against Nebraska in past years, limiting pitchers to an inning or two of predetermined work. In the 11 meetings over the past four years, Creighton starting pitchers have combined to throw just 21.2 innings, and the Jays have used 71 pitchers in those 10 games. The last Creighton hurler to throw more than five innings against Nebraska in any game was Casey Schmidt in April of 2007.
Creighton always seems to play some of its best ball the weekends before playing Nebraska. In its last 13 meetings with Nebraska dating back to late 2006, Creighton is 39-8 in the weekend series prior to a mid-week Nebraska meeting. That includes nine 3-0 sweeps, one 2-0 sweep, three 2-1 series victories and four 2-1 series setbacks.
* Creighton’s last walk-off win over Nebraska came on April 5, 2005, when former Husker outfielder Matt Daeges had a ninth-inning double-that plated Gabe Lapito and gave the Jays a dramatic 4-3 win at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Bluejay shortstop Alex Staehely had his roughest start to a season in 2012, not picking up a hit until his third game and still hitting .171 in game 9 of the year. Since then, Staehely has been on the upslide, improving his overall average to .215. He has reached base safely the last 10 games straight, the longest current streak by any Bluejay.
Chance Ross owns the top streak this season, as the senior started off the season reaching base safely in 19 straight games.
Creighton set a new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record with seven doubles in the win against Kansas on Tuesday. The Bluejays have twice hit five doubles this season (at Portland and at Pacific), but hadn’t hit more than one in a game since March 17 against North Dakota.
It also marked the biggest doubles output in a single game since they also hit seven doubles against Wichita State on May 8, 2004.
As a team, Creighton hit 14 doubles last week, led by Nick Judkins’ four. Chance Ross, Alex Staehely, Jake Peter and Scott Thornburg each had two doubles on the week.
Freshman Jake Peter led the team with two doubles on the night. Peter had four doubles in his first five games, but just one in the next 18 before Tuesday night.
It marks the third time this season a single player has hit a pair of doubles in a game, as Scott Thornburg hit two against Portland and Judkins had a pair against Indiana State.
Creighton finished the last homestand with a 3-5 record, winning single games against Evansville, Indiana State and Kansas. Creighton nearly hit better than the overall average this season, hitting .215 as a team, led by Nick Judkins’ .333. An even better mark, the Creighton pitching staff held opponents to a 2.37 ERA, with three pitchers (Nick Musec, Mark Winlkelman and Chase Webb) all holding flawless 0.00 ERA’s and Shane Liska with a 0.87 ERA.
Tough at the Top
The first four batters in the Bluejay lineup combined for six of Creighton’s 10 hits in the 7-3 win over Kansas on Tuesday. The four batters (Brad McKewon, Chance Ross, Nick Judkins and Anthony Bemboom) have a combined for 104 hits this season, hitting .291 together.
The Creighton baseball team has always been known for their defense, sitting in the top-10 since head coach Ed Servais took over the Bluejay program. Currently, the Jays are third in the nation with a .981 fielding percentage, which also puts them first in the conference.
Year Fielding % Place
2012 .981 3rd
2011 .981 5th
2010 .980 4th
2009 .980 2nd
2008 .976 3rd
2007 .974 8th
2006 .965 87th
2005 .972 17th
2004 .982 1st
2003 .962 103rd
You Just Stay There
One way to keep a spot in the Creighton bullpen is to limit the runs you allow to cross the plate. The staff has come into the game with 55 runners on base this season, allowing just 13 of them to score. In the game against Kansas, Brandon Koenigstein (making just his third relief appearance) inherited runners on second and third base, but got all three outs to strand the runners on the bases.
The Creighton bullpen has not allowed an inherited run to score since the Missouri State finale (3/25), and are a perfect 15-0 on inherited runners-scoring at home.
Player Inherited Scored
Brandon Koenigstein 2 0
Shane Liska 7 1
Erik Mattingly 2 0
Reese McGraw 4 0
Nick Musec 5 0
Kurt Spomer 8 4
Chase Webb 13 2
Mark Winkelman 13 5
• Andrew Urban became the first Bluejay newcomer since Ty Blach’s freshman year to make it into the starting rotation in his first year on campus. The JUCO transfer is the first since Jeremy Hauer to make it into the starting rotation since 2008-09.
• Urban has made seven appearances this season, six of which were starts.
• Urban’s longest outing this season was 5.2 innings, allowing a pair of unearned runs on three hits against North Dakota (3/17).
• Urban holds a 7:3 walk to strikeout ratio this season, giving up three extra base hits.
Michael Mutcheson made his first appearance in 23 games last Tuesday night, finishing 1-3 from the plate with a walk and a double. He missed the middle of the season with a back injury after starting the first two games of the season at second base.
Mark Winkelman (2.0), Kurt Spomer (1.0) and Reese McGraw (1.0) combined for the final four innings of the game last Tuesday, not allowing a single Kansas runner to reach base safely. The three combined for five strikeouts in the four innings.
Give Me a Ground Ball
Part of the reason the Creighton defense is so good is that they have ample opportunities to put their practice into the games. The Creighton pitching staff has forced batters to hit into 29 double-plays this season, thanks to 333 ground ball outs this year. On the flip side, 221 outs have come from fly balls.
Make them Earn It
While the Creighton pitching staff has shown its depth and power both at times this season, the one thing it has been best at is limiting the amount of walks issued. Creighton leads the league with just 86 walks issued theis season. The Bluejays sit in the middle of the Valley in hit-batters, plunking 32.
Give me the Ball
In a pair of appearances two weeks ago, junior Nick Musec tossed 8.1 scoreless inning to finish the week with a team-high in innings pitched as well as a flawless ERA. Musec struck out a career-high five batters in 5.1 innings of work in the midweek start against Neraska Omaha and then threw 3.0 innings of relief against Evansville on Sunday, striking out three more batters. In the two outings combined Musec allowed just three hits and issued just one walk. He held opponents to a .111 average against on the week.
Back in Business
In his most explosive offensive week of the season, Alex Staehely led the team with a .308 average, picking up four hits including his first home run of the 2012 season. His solo shot in the Saturday win over Evansville also marked the first home run hit out of TD Ameritrade Park Omaha this season. Staheley led the team with a .538 slugging percentage, driving in one run and adding on on his own. The junior also picked up a pair of walks on the week, helping his on-base percentage to a team-high .400.
Chase Webb picked up his first win of the season on Saturday, March 31 against Evansville, extending his scoreless inning streak to 10.1 innings in the process. Webb has made four appearances in MVC play, tossing 5.0 scoreless innings and surrendering just one hit. He has six strikeouts in the last four game
For the first time this season, the Bluejays sent a different batter to the plate to start off the game on Saturday against Evansville. Chance Ross had been the first batter in the Bluejay lineup for the first 23 games of the season, when hot-hitting Brad McKewon earned the spot. McKewon finished the day 3-5 from the plate and has been first in the lineup ever since.
Run, Run, Run as Fast as You Can
Junior outfielder Jordan Makovicka has made 14 appearances this season, earning eight pinch-hit spots. But Makovicka has been the lone pinch-runner for the team this season, making six appearances to run the bases, scoring two runs in the process.
Date Opponent Runs
03/04 at UC Davis -
03/06 at California -
03/27 vs. UNO 1
03/31 vs. Evansville -
04/01 vs. Evansville -
04/03 vs. Kansas 1
Creighton has put up double-digit numbers in the hit column just two times since March 17, when they used 27 hits in a pair of games to down North Dakota 12-3 and 16-3. Creighton had 10 hits each in the March 31 win over Evansville and the 7-3 win on Tueday, April 3 over Kansas.
In the same breath, the Bluejays haven’t posted five runs since the March 17 game against North Dakota.
The Bluejays have already been a part of fourf extra inning games this season, defeating Central Arkansas 7-3, falling 3-2 at Portland, winning 3-2 against Evansville and falling 2-0 in 12-innings against Indiana State. The Bluejays have played at least four extra inning games the last five years, with six extra frame games in each of the last three years.
Been Here Before
2012 doesn’t mark the first time the Bluejays have started with an 11-11 mark. In fact, Creighton has had worse starts in the Ed Servais tenure. Below are the first 11 games, along with the complete record at the end of the season in the last 10 years:
2012 11-11 ??
2011 17-5 45-16 overall
2010 14-8 27-25 overall
2009 8-14 31-25 overall
2008 15-7 37-21 overall
2007 13-9 45-16 overall
2006 17-5 31-21 overall
2005 17-5 48-17 overall
2004 12-10 35-24 overall
2003 7-15 20-37 overall
2002 11-11 30-24 overall
This and That
• The 4,224 fans on Tuesday, March 27 vs. Nebraska Omaha were the most at a Creighton baseball game this season.
* Creighton stranded 13 baserunners on Friday night, leaving at least one runner on base in each of the nine and a pair of runners on base in four different frames
* Brad McKewon has now gotten at least one hit in 11 of the 26 games he has played in, picking up multiple hits in six of the 11 games.
* The last time a Creighton team dropped five straight games was May 8 - May 15, 2009
• The Bluejays loss against Nebraska Omaha was the first in 10 games against the Mavs.
• The last time Creighton scored just five runs in four consecutive game combined was to close out the 2003 season, when the Jays beat Bradley 2-0 in a pair of game, lost to Missouri State 5-1 and to Indiana State 2-0 in the MVC Tournament.
Brad McKewon was the bright spot in the Bluejays offense over the weekend at Missouri State, leading the Jays with a 5-for-11 (.455) performance from the plate in the conference opening weekend. The sophomore outfielder was the lone player to record three hits in a game on the weekend, putting up a three-spot in the Friday night game. McKewon had a .455 slugging percentage, and used a walk to aid his on-base percentage, safely reaching .500 percent of the time. McKewon put down one sacrifice bunt and was 1-1 in stolen bases on the weekend.
Overall on the year, McKewon is hitting .326, making 13 starts in 18 games. He holds a .478 slugging percentage and has laid down a pair of sacrifice bunts to go along with two sacrifice fly balls.
Do Not Cross Go; Do Not Collect $200
Chase Webb continued his scoreless streak on the mound on the weekend. In a pair of appearances, Webb threw 2.2 innings allowing no hits and striking out four. In the last nine appearances, 10.1 innings, Webb hasn’t surrendered a run and has 13 strikeouts.
Put Him in the Books
Shane Liska came in on Sunday to strike out a Bluejay career-high five Bears. The senior recorded the first strike out of the game in the sixth inning, then shut down the side in the seventh with strike outs.
In the Conference Opener
Creighton holds an 11-16 overall record in Missouri Valley Conference openers since 1984. The Bluejays are now 4-5 in the opening game under head coach Ed Servais.
2012 L 0-3 Missouri State
2011 L 4-5 Illinois State
2010 W 4-2 Southern Illinois
2009 W 7-3 Indiana State
2008 L 8-9 Missouri State
2007 L 0-6 Evansville
2006 L 0-4 Bradley
2005 W 8-2 Illinois State
2004 W 2-0 Missouri State
In the Conference Series Opener
Head coach Ed Servais is 6-3 in the MVC series opener in his first eight years, with the lone series losses coming at Missouri State this season, in 2008 and at Bradley in 2006. The Bluejays have swept just once in the series opener under Servais, a three-game sweep of Illinois State in 2005, while 2012 marked the first time the Jays have been swept on opening weekend under Ed Servais. Overall, Creighton holds a 13-12-3 record in MVC Opening series.
Conference Series Openers Under Servais
2012 0-3 @ Missouri State
2011 2-1 @ Illinois State
2010 2-1 @ Southern Illinois
2009 2-1 @ Indiana State
2008 1-2 @ Missouri State
2007 2-1 @ Evansville
2006 1-2 @ Bradley
2005 3-0 @ Illinois State
2004 2-1 @ Missouri State
Life on the Road
Creighton has opened the Missouri Valley Conference portion of their schedule on the road each of the last eight years under Ed Servais. The Bluejays haven’t hosted the opening MVC weekend since 2003, when they hosted Missouri State in a four game series. The Jays split with the Bears, Creighton winning the first two games (3-2 and 4-3) and MSU taking the final two (11-1, 4-2). The Bluejays have also hosted MVC opening weekends in 1993, 1992, 1991 and 1989
Fore or Four
Creighton and Missouri State have met up in the conference opening weekend three different times, with the Bears holding a 6-3 edge in games won. The two teams opened the MVC schedule in 1996, with an MSU sweep (11-10, 14-9, 5-4), played again in 2004, with Creighton taking two of three (2-0 Jays, 5-0 Bears and 3-2 Jays). The two teams played most recently on the opening weekend in 2008, when Missouri State won the first two games (9-8 and 3-1) and Creighton broke up the sweep with the 8-4 win in game three.
All three series have been played in Springfield, Mo.
Putting up a Donut
Erik Mattingly has made six appearances on the mound in different games this season, holding a team-low 1.59 earned run average. The senior, who also sees playing time in the outfield and as the designated hitter, has made scoreless appearances four of the five outings this season, allowing just one earned run on four hits this season.
* Mattingly went a season-high 3.0 innings against BYU on March 13. He struck out five batters and allowed just one hit in his scoreless outing.
* Mattingly is holding his opponents to a .077 batting average against when at home this season, allowing just one hit in 4.0 innings of work.
The Bluejay pitching staff has had its struggles early this season, but turned things around immenselyin the five games at home two weeks ago, holding a combined 1.20 earned run average and posting a 4-1 record. Nine different Bluejays posted flawless outings on the mound, with seven of the nine pitching at least 2.2 innings. Andrew Urban made a pair of starts, throwing 6.2 scoreless innings with a 1-0 record, while Mark Winkelman, Reese McGraw and Kurt Spomer combined out of the bullpen to make nine appearances and surrender seven hits total in 10.1 innings of work. The trio did not surrender a run through the week.
The Bluejays have turned a combined 28 double plays on the season, nearly doubling the 15 they have hit into. The double play ball has helped to limit opponents runs, as the Bluejays used the double plays as inning ending/run stranding plays.
Creighton baseball senior Anthony Bemboom was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday. It marks the first time the senior from Sauk Rapids, Minn., has earned the award.
Bemboom led the Bluejays offensively last week, picking up a team-high eight hits and scoring five runs to lead the Jays to a 4-1 week. In the five-game homestand, Bemboom hit .471, starting all five games. He had a .824 slugging percentage, picking up 14 total bases on the week thanks to three doubles and a home run. Bemboom went a perfect 4-4 from the plate with a pair of singles, a double and a solo home run in the 16-3 win over North Dakota on Saturday afternoon. The senior did not strike out on the week, the only Bluejay in the starting lineup to accomplish the feat last week. He led the Bluejays with a .550 on-base percentage with three walks.
The Bluejays put up a combined 28 runs on 27 hits in the doubleheader wins over North Dakota on Saturday. It is the largest output of runs in two consecutive games since 2006, when the Jays scored 30 runs in wins over Belmont and Tennessee Tech.
Ain’t Life Grand
Sophomore Mike Gerber hit Creighton’s first grand slam since 2008 (Darin Ruf) in the win over North Dakota on Saturday. The Bluejay centerfielder had seven home runs last season in his rookie campaign and already has two this season.
Creighton’s pitching staff highlighted the middle of the week in the opening home games, while their bats took over in the final two games of the home opener in 2012 (vs. BYU and La Tech). The Jays pitching staff had a combined 0.50 ERA in the first two games at home, allowing just one run in the two games combined, with eight different pitchers posting flawless marks in the two games. The Bluejay offense tripled its home run total in one day on Saturday, hitting six home runs in the two wins over North Dakota. Coming into the day, the Jays had just three round-trippers on the season.
After his dramatic entrance onto the scene in last year’s MVC Tournament, Erik Mattingly has emerged as a go-to guy in the Bluejay bullpen. The senior out of Garden City CC made a pair of appearances on the weekend, striking out six batters in 4.0 innings of work. Mattingly was a part of the Bluejays fi rst shutout of the season, a 2-0 win over BYU on Tuesday. He held his opponents to just a .077 batting average and was one of seven different pitchers in the Bluejay ‘pen to go at least two innings and not allow a single run.
This and That
* Creighton has now won the opening home series in nine of the last 10 seasons. The Bluejays have now hit at least one triple in four straight games, one in four of the five home games this homestand.
* Brad McKewon, Gabriel Thibodeaux and Petr Zyma each hit their first career home run as a Bluejay in game two on Saturday, March 17 vs. North Dakota.
* Anthony Bemboom had four hits in game two on Saturday against North Dakota, coming just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. The last player to do that was Ryan Fitzgerald in 2003
* Anthony Bemboom tied his single-game high with eight bases in the second game against North Dakota.
* Creighton hit six home runs total in the afternoon series, doubling their total on the season (3) in one afternoon.
* Nick Musec improved to 3-0 following the win against North Dakota on Saturday, joining Ty Blach as the only Jays with three wins on the season.
The Real Stuff
The Bluejays have spent a good amount of time this preseason practicing outside, thanks to beautiful weather and a mild winter. The Jays played the opening weekend on a field with turf infield and grass outfield. They then played on all grass in the lone game played at Portland, but made the switch back to a combination field when playing at Lower Columbia College for the final game against the Pilots (switched due to rain). TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, the home of the Bluejays, is a completely natural field.
Opening Day at Home
In the past 10 years, Creighton has a 9-1 record on opening day. This marks the first season that opening day will be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, even though the team will make a return appearance at the CU Sports Complex at the end of the week. Under head coach Ed Servais, the Jays are 8-1 on opening day. The only blemish on Servais’ opening day mark came in 2010, in an 8-5 loss to Indiana State. Below are the opening day scores from the past 10 seasons.
3/13/12 BYU W 2-0
3/11/11 South Dakota State W 6-0
4/2/10 Indiana State L 5-8
3/14/09 South Dakota State W 8-2
3/15/08 Chicago State W(7) 11-0
3/9/07 Saint Louis W 6-1
3/14/06 North Dakota State W 13-4
2/25/05 Saint Louis W 13-12
3/19/04 North Dakota State W 14-2
3/25/03 Kansas State W 11-6
3/5/02 Dana College W 16-7
The Jays have also had good success in the opening series in the last 10 years. Creighton is 26-7 in the first home series of the season. In 2002, 2003 and 2004 the Jays opened with a single game at home followed by a conference home series in each season. Below are the opening series opponents and results
2012 North Dakota 2-1
2011 South Dakota State 3-0
2010 Indiana State 1-2
2009 South Dakota State 2-1
2008 Chicago State 4-0
2007 Saint Louis 3-0
2006 North Dakota State 2-0
2005 Saint Louis 2-0
2004 Evansville 3-0
2003 Missouri State 2-2
2002 Illinois State 2-1
Putting Fans in the Seats
Creighton has played 176 home games in Ed Servais’ tenure at CU, with 116 of them being played at the CU Sports Complex , 43 held at Rosenblatt Stadium and most recently 17 played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. In games played on campus, Creighton averages 401 fans per game. In the games played at the new home of Bluejay baseball, Creighton averaged near 8,000 fans a game last season.
Keeping Our Bags Packed
Even though the weather in Omaha has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures making it into the 60’s on some days and the snow off the field, Creighton opened up the 2012 season with 13 straight road games. The Bluejays spent time in Arkansas, Oregon, and a week in California, traveling 8,629 miles.
Omaha to Conway, Ark. and back 1160 mi.
Omaha to Portland Ore. and back 2732 mi.
Portland, Ore. to Longmont, Wash. and back 96 mi.
Omaha to Sacramento, Calif. 2688 mi.
Sacramento, Calif. to Berkely, Calif. and back 156 mi.
Sacramento, Calif. to Stockton, Calif. 48 mi.
Stockton, Calif. to San Francisco, Calif. 83 mi.
San Francisco, Calif. to Omaha 1666 mi.
The Top of the Charts
Ty Blach was tabbed the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week following the opening weekend of play, the first time in his career he has earned the award. Blach picked up the first win on the mound in 2012, striking out six batters in 5.0 innings of work on Friday, Feb. 17.
Give Us Another
Reese McGraw was named the MVC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 28, after the second weekend of play. McGraw made a pair of appearances on the weekend at UC Davis, each one a scoreless affair on the mound. The right-hander picked up his first save of the season in the 7-6 win on Friday, tossing 2.0 scoreless, hitless innings in relief. He struck out a pair of batters and faced just the minumum in his two innings. In the win on Sunday, McGraw threw another 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball, surrendering just two hits and striking out one to pick up his second win of the season (2-1).
It’s Was Good to be Back
A Creighton baseball team hasn’t made a trip to California since 2000, when the Bluejays took part in the Pspsi/ohnny Quik Classic held at Fresno State. In the final year of participation, the Bluejays went 5-1, with wins over Bowling Green (4-1), Temple (15-0), Fresno State (12-3), Gonzaga (11-2), and UNC-Asheville (5-3), before dropping the final game to host Fresno State 5-1.
The Bluejays finished the Spring Break Trip to California 4-4, taking two-of-three in bothweekend series, but falling in the two midweek games at California and Sacramento State.
Flocks of Jays
Creighton stranded 18 runners on base on the weekend at Portland, nine in each game. Creighton dropped the first game 3-2 in 10 innings before falling 5-3 in the final game of the series. Overall on the season, the Bluejays have left 45 players on base, with opponents stranding 39.
The Bluejays had a hard time picking up the pick off motion by the Portland staff, getting pegged off first base four times in the two games with the Pilots. In total, Creighton had 12 players picked off last season.
Playing With Swagger
Freshman Jake Peter led the Bluejays offensively in the pair of games at Portland on the weekend, starting both games at second base and posting a .429 (3-for-7) average from the plate. Two of Peter’s hits were doubles, giving him a slugging percentage of .714 through the two games. Peter also played flawless defense, not committing an error in 16 chances.
On the season, Peter has a .237 batting average and a .390 slugging percentage, as five of his 14 hits are doubles.
Blach on Top
The Feb. 20 MVC Pitcher of the Week, Ty Blach put together one of his best pitching performances at Creighton in the series opener against Portland. Blach tossed 8.0 complete innings of work, tying his career high for innings pitched, and allowing just a pair of hits and one earned run while also striking out a pair of batters. Blach kept the Pilots baffled from the plate through the first eight innings, facing a single batter in the ninth before the Bluejays went to the bullpen.
Eight is Great
Ty Blach threw 8.0 complete innings of work in the game on Friday at Portland, allowing just one earned run and two hits. It marks the fifth time in his career the junior has gone for 8.0 innings, although he did it just once last season. The five outings, including hits surrendered and strikeouts, are listed below:
Date Opponent K Hits
2/24/12 @ Portland 2 2
2/20/11 vs. Missouri State 8 4
4/4/10 vs. Indiana State 4 5
4/18/10 at Bradley 6 6
4/25/10 at Missouri State 6 6
Ty Blach has started as the most dominant pitcher in the Bluejay rotation early this season. As the Friday night starter, Blach has a pair of starts on the mound for the Jays, holding a 0.69 earned run average in 13.0 innings of work. He has struck out eight batters and only allowed one earned run on the season.
Not Getting Overtime
The opening game between the Bluejays and Pilots last Friday was on pace to be one of the quickest games in the last three seasons for the Bluejays, as Ty Blach and Kyle Kraus were at the seventh inning stretch just 1:17 into the game. It helped that Blach threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters he faced. Below are the five fastest recorded games in the last three seasons for the Jays:
Date Opponent Pitcher of Record Time
3/19/11 vs Valparaiso Jonas Dufek 1:25
5/6/11 at Wichita State Ty Blach 1:36
6/3/11 vs Georgia Jonas Dufek 1:50
4/27/10 Air Force Jack VanLeur 1:54
4/25/10 at Missouri State Ty Blach 1:57
Clearing the Bullpen
Creighton used seven pitchers in the two games at Portland, tossing five different Jays in the rain-delayed second game. On the opening weekend, the Jays used 10 different pitchers in the three games, none tossing more than 5.0 innings. Below shows the innings pitched per player over the last weekend.
Ty Blach 8.0 1.12
Brandon Koenigstein 3.1 8.10
Chase Webb 2.1 0.00
Reese McGraw 1.2 5.40
Kurt Spomer 1.0 9.00
Nick Musec 0.2 0.00
Mark Winkelman 0.2 27.00
Walk This Way
Chance Ross has been the leadoff batter for the Bluejays in all 21 games, and has done a good job at getting himself on base. The senior third baseman leads the team with 15 walks on the season and reached with a hit by pitch seven times. He holds a .436 on-base percentage, second on the team to Nick Judkins.
In comparison, Ross had 13 total walks last season.
Two For One
After a down year in terms of turning double plays in 2010 (Creighton led the nation in double plays/game for three years straight) the Bluejay infield has turned 23 double plays already in the first 21 games. The Jays turned 45 double plays last season.
Switching it Up
Creighton used three different defensive starting lineups on opening weekend, as Ed Servais looks to find the perfect combination. Brad McKewon, Anthony Bemboom and Erik Mattingly all saw time in left field, while Michael Mutcheson and Jake Peter were each in at second base. Bemboom and Scott Thornburg split catching duties through the weekend.
Head coach Ed Servais surpassed the first of a pair of milestones he will be looking to overcome in the 2012 season. Servais earned his 300th as a Bluejay head coach (314-280). The skipper needs just six wins to get his 500th of his career (495-262-1).
Ed Servais became the winningest coach in program history last season, surpassing both Jim Hendry and Jack Dahm to post a 312-278 overall record at the helm of the Jays. He now is in the top-20 in winning percentage among active head coaches, holding a .644 overall record. Servais was also named the MVC Coach of the Year, picking up the honor for the fourth time in his first eight years at Creighton.
Offseason Pays Off
Nick Judkins was named to the All-Star team of the Northwoods League this summer, Judkins hit .309 with a .414 on-base percentage for the Mankato MoonDogs and has contiuned his success at the start of this season.
Judkins finished the weekend 4-for-12 (.333) from the plate, scoring three runs and driving in three. His two-run home run put the Bluejays on the board first in the final game of the series, the fi rst round-tripper of the season for the Jays. Judkins added a double and finished with a .667 slugging percentage to add to his .429 on-base percentage. Judkins was one of three Bluejays with a stolen base on the opening weekend. The senior also played flawless defense, error-free in 31 chances at first base.
New Kids On The Block
Andrew Urban became the first fresh face to make it into the starting rotation since Ty Blach earned a spot as the Sunday starter midway through his freshman season (2010). Urban is the first junior college transfer to start in the rotation since Jeremy Hauer started in 2008-09 (Hauer transferred from Indian Hills, Urban from Hutchinson CC).
Jake Peter earned his first start on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Central Arkansas, finishing 1-2 from the plate, while playing second base. Peter drove in a run and picked up his first collegiate basehit in the same at-bat. Alex Staehely, who has made the switch to second base, also started at second base as a true freshman.
Making his first appearance for the Bluejays on opening weekend was Shane Liska. The graduate student and transfer from Duke tossed 0.2 inning in the Sunday, Feb. 19 game, striking out one and hitting a batter.
Replacing Trever Adams in right field, Brennan Murphy started every game on the weekend, finishing 4-for-12 with an RBI and two runs scored. He also finished 2-for-2 on the basepaths to pace the Jays on the first weekend
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
Nick Judkins needed just three games to send out Creighton’s first home run of the season, lining a two-run shot over the right field fence in the 5-1 win over Central Arkansas on Feb. 19. Creighton didn’t have a home run until the seventh game of the season last year, when Anthony Bemboom drove out a three-run shot in the seventh inning at New Mexico on Feb. 26.
Creighton was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, picking up three votes in the preseason coaches poll. The Bluejays will aim to repeat as regular-season champions and then head to Springfield, Mo., to try to repeat as Tournament champions.
Four Bluejays were named to the preseason all-conference team, with Ty Blach, Anthony Bemboom, Mike Gerber and Kurt Spomer all earning preseason nods.
On the 2012 Schedule
Games against three teams who played in the 2011 NCAA Baseball Tournament, including the California Golden Bears who made it to the College World Series, highlight the 2012 Creighton baseball spring schedule. The Bluejays will meet up with the Cal Bears in a single game as part of the spring break trip in California, while also traveling to Kansas State (Fullerton Regional) and hosting Dallas Baptist (Ft. Worth Regional).
The Bluejays will also host four different Missouri Valley Conference weekend series, kicked off by hosting Evansville at the end of March and closing the regular season hosting Wichita State just prior to the MVC Tournament.
Wild Thing is Back
Kurt Spomer has earned a spot on the NCBWA preseason Stopper of the Year Award list. Spomer, who led the league with 13 saves a season ago, was named to the second team All-MVC in 2011. The senior made 35 appearances last season, 34 from the bullpen and one start against Nebraska. In 48.2 innings of work, Spomer surrendered 35 hits and held a 2.22 earned run average, including two stretches of six-plus appearances without an earned run allowed. He held a 37-13 strikeout-walk ratio, finishign the season with a 3-4 record along with his 13 saves.
In Mid-season Form
Ty Blach opened the 2012 campaign with 5.0 flawless innings of baseball, striking out six batters in his first start, a 4-3 win at Central Arkansas. The junior finished last season with a 10-3 record, striking out 100 in the process.
Chase Webb and Reese McGraw both started off their seasons perfectly on the mound, striking out the first two batters they saw. Webb did it by throwing six straight strikes for two strikeouts.
Junior Jordan Makovicka became the first Bluejay to have a pinch hit in 2012, when he hit a pop-up in the top of the ninth inning of the Feb. 18, 7-3 win over Central Arkansas. Makovicka led the squad in pinch hits last season, asked to come in off the bench in 15 different games. Makovicka hit .400 in pinch hit situations last year, bested only by Scott Thornburg, who hit .429 in seven pinch hit at bats last season.
Player AB Avg. OB%
Thornburg 7 .429 .429
Makovicka 10 .400 .571
Thibodeaux 10 .400 .400
Cuno 8 .375 .500
Bemboom 4 .250 .400
Blach Among Best
Bluejay junior southpaw Ty Blach has picked up a pair of preseason accolades, being named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team and earning NCBWA Preseason All-America honors. The Friday night starter turned in one of the top pitching performances in the league last season, sitting ninth in the country and leading the Valley with 18 games started on the mound. He finished with a 10-3 record, owning the second most wins on the Bluejay staff and in the conference. Blach’s 100 strikeouts placed him second on the Bluejay squad, and ninth on the Creighton all-time charts.
What a Ride
The Bluejays are coming off one of the best season’s in program history, finishing with a 45-16 overall record, and claiming the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championship in the same season for the first time in program history. The tournament title gave Creighton the MVC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, the fifth time in 13 seasons and the third time in Ed Servais’ career at Creighton.
Among the Best in 2011
As is true to any Ed Servais coached team, the 2011 Bluejays thrived on the team-game concept, highlighted by solid defense and offensive execution. The Jays led the MVC and finished fourth in the nation in fielding percentage with a .980, led by first baseman Nick Judkins, who finished with just two errors in 596 chances. Offensively, the junior tied a school record with 22 sacrifice bunts on the year. Trever Adams provided the power for the Bluejays, earning All-American nods from Baseball America, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball after finishing the season with a .387 batting average, 14 homeruns and 57 runs driven in. Freshman Mike Gerber earned Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball after stepping in as the every-day starting centerfielder, playing flawless defense and blasting a .488 slugging percentage on offense.
On the mound, Creighton finished the season as one of three teams (Creighton, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech) with two pitchers with over 10-wins and 100 strikeouts, with Jonas Dufek finishing with a 12-1 record (128 strikeouts) and southpaw standout Ty Blach held a 10-3 record (100 strikeouts).
Out of the Pen
Junior Kurt Spomer emerged as a closer for the pitching staff in 2011, moving into second on the Creighton all-time charts with 13 saves on the year. Three different pitchers made 35 appearances on the season, with Spomer, Mark Winkelman and Reese McGraw used as workhorses out of the bullpen. Jack VanLeur, who sits second in all-time appearances, finished the season with 34 appearances and his Bluejay career with 115.
For the Mantel
Any time a team has such a successful season, individual accolades are sure to follow, and 2011 was no different. Head coach Ed Servais was named the MVC Coach of the year for the fourth time in his career following 2011, highlighting the Missouri Valley Conference awards handed out to the Bluejays following the season. Jonas Dufek, Trever Adams and Jimmy Swift were named first teamers, while Ty Blach, Mike Gerber and Kurt Spomer were named to the second team. Adams and Dufek were named All-Americans, while Gerber picked up Freshman All-America honors. Blach also became just the seventh Creighton baseball player to garner CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.
Big Shoes to Fill
Creighton will look to replace All-America outfielder Trever Adams and Friday night pitcher Jonas Dufek, who also received All-America honors, as they were both drafted following the season. Jimmy Swift, Creighton’s starting shortstop and Jack VanLeur (34 appearances out of the bullpen last season, 115 career appearances) also signed professional contracts, while Greg Hellhake and Joey Bowens both ended their Bluejay careers due to graduation.
In the Field
Creighton returns seven position starters and one member from its starting rotation this season, padded by a full return of the Bullpen staff. Freshman All-American Mike Gerber will be counted on to expand his offensive numbers, stepping immediately into the starting centerfield position last season. The Bluejays return 75% of their infield in Chance Ross (3B), Alex Staehely (SS) and Nick Judkins (1B). Senior catcher Anthony Bemboom returns behind the dish, leading the squad with seven runners caught stealing last season.
On the mound, Ty Blach will enter the season as one of the most feared pitchers in the conference, aiming to improve on his 10-3 record a season ago. Replacing Jonas Dufek will be a major concentration leading up to the season, but expect Brandon Koenigstein and newcomer Andrew Urban to step into the big shoes. The Bluejays return nearly all of their bullpen from last season, including three players who made 35 appearances last season (Kurt Spomer, Reese McGraw and Mark Winkelman).
Feeling at Home Again
Creighton made the move into their new home at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on April 19, 2011. The $128 milliion dollar facility will be Creighton’s new stadium, replacing the CU Sports Complex, where the Bluejays have called home since 1977. The Bluejays finished 14-4 in the new ballpark, winning the MVC Tournament to complete the first season of play. Below are a list of firsts from the new move.
First Game: April 19, 2011
Nebraska 2, Creighton 1
Ceremonial First Pitch: Fred Tomczyk, TD CEO
First Pitch: 6:42 pm by CU’s Ty Blach (4/19/11)
First Hit: NU’s Cody Asche (4/19/11)
First Double: NU’s Tanner Krietemeier (4/19/11)
First Run: Creighton’s Trever Adams (4/19/11)
First RBI: Creighton’s Mike Gerber (4/19/11)
First Home run: Creighton’s Mike Gerber (4/22/11)
First Strikeout:: NU’s Bryan Peters by Blach (4/19/11)
First Double play: CU (Swift-Staehely-Judkins) (4/19/11)
First Win: NU’s Logan Ehlers (4/19/11)
First Loss: CU’s Mark Winkelman (4/19/11)
First Telecast: NET Sports/CBS Sports Netwprl (4/19/11)
First CWS: 2011
First CWS Champions: South Carolina