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Courtesy: Eric Francis

Creighton Faces Omaha in Home and Home, then Head to Kansas

OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton baseball team plays four games over the five days as the Jays play a home and home series with Omaha, then travel to Lawrence, Kan. for a single game with the Jayhawks on April 2.

3/29: Omaha @ Creighton - 6 p.m. (TD Ameritrade Park Omaha)
3/30: CreightonOmaha - 1 p.m. (Werner Park)
3/31: Omaha @ Creighton - 1 p.m. (TD Ameritrade Park Omaha)
4/2: Creighton @ Kansas - 6 p.m. (Hoglund Ballpark)

Radio Broadcast: 1180 KZOT

Live Stats:
Twitter: @GoCreighton, @cu_baseball

Radio Broadcasts
The radio broadcasts of Creighton Baseball continue on Friday, March 29 at 5:45 p.m. as John Bishop and Dave Gustafson can be heard on KZOT 1180 Zone2 on both Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 at 12:45 p.m.

Last Time Out
Creighton opened Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play last weekend, taking two of three at Evansville.  The last two midweek contests have been postponed by weather, bringing the total to 11 games affected by wintery conditions in 2013.

This Week
Creighton takes a break from conference action to play crosstown rival Omaha in a home-and-home series, then travels to Lawrence, Kan. for a single game with the Jayhawks on Tuesday.  For the series with the Mavericks, the Jays host Friday and Sunday, while the game on Saturday will be played in Werner Park.

What’s Next?
Following the four-game set this week Creighton returns to MVC action next Friday, hosting Bradley for a three-game set.

Jays vs. Omaha
Creighton holds a 46-28 series edge on the Mavericks.  The two squads split two games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha last season, UNO took the first meeting, 3-2, on March 27.  Creighton evened the season series with a 6-1 win on May 9.  Prior to the meetings last season, Creighton had not played Omaha since a single game in 2003.  Coach Servais is 1-1 all-time against the Mavericks.  

Last two seasons vs. Omaha
March 27, 2012    L, 2-3
May 9, 2012    W, 6-1

Scouting the Mavericks (5-12)
Omaha concludes 11 consecutive games as the road team on Friday night against the Jays. UNO has gone 4-6 during its current road stretch, dropping its last three.  The Mavericks last served as the home team on March 9, a 10-9 win over Minnesota.  Omaha is using three different sites as a home field in 2013, playing at Westside High School, Werner Park and Ballpark at Boys Town.  

Offensively the Mavericks are led by sophomore Alex Mortensen and freshman Clayton Taylor.  The youthful duo are hitting .407 and .381 respectively, delivering a combined 40 hits.  Junior Brett Bass leads UNO with 26 hits this season, but is third on the team in average at .338.

The Mavericks are struggling to find their rhythm on the mound, giving starts to eight differing hurlers.   Sophomore Zach Williamson is slated to start the opener on Friday.  The right-hander has a team leading 2.12 ERA, but it 0-1 and will be making just his second start of the season.  A strength for the Mavericks has been the performance of closer, junior Josh Bullock.  The Elkhorn, Neb., native has three saves in seven appearances, but has a 4.50 ERA (6 R/5 ER) in 10 innings of work.

Jays vs. Kansas
The Bluejays hold a 20-10 series edge on Kansas, taking the last three meetings.  The two squads met just once in 2012, a 7-3 win for the Jays on April 3.  Coach Servais is 3-5 versus Kansas in eight career meetings.

Last two seasons vs. Kansas
February 22, 2011    W, 4-3
April 26, 2011    W, 5-3
April 3, 2012    W, 7-3

Scouting the Jayhawks (14-8)
Before hosting the Jays on Tuesday, April 2, Kansas will battle Oklahoma in a three-game series in Norman, Okla., this weekend.  The Jayhawks have won eight of their last 11 games, including two of three from TCU to open Big 12 play (March 15-17).  

Offensively Kansas is hitting .303 as a team, led by sophomore Michael Suiter’s .423 mark.  Just a notch back is the Jayhawks most potent power threat, senior Jordan Dreiling.  He boasts a team-high 18 RBI as well as seven doubles and a .356 average.

As are most midweek games, Tuesday’s contest should be a bullpen affair for both teams.

Fowler Nabs Jays’ Third MVC POTW (March 25)
Creighton freshman Reagan Fowler earned MVC Player of the Week on Monday, March 25 for his play from March 18-24.

Fowler closed his opening MVC series with a .583 average (7-for-12) with three RBI.  The freshman first baseman posted a .667 slugging percentage, a .643 on-base percentage and also nabbed a stolen base.  Fowler delivered the Jays’ first extra-base hit of their three-game set at Evansville in the fourth inning, plating two Bluejays.  Fowler delivered multiple hits in each of the Jays’ three games this week, moving him into a tie for the team lead with eight multi-hit games.

Fowler is the third Bluejay to earn the MVC POTW award this season, joining sophomore Jake Peter (March 18) and senior Alex Staehely (Feb. 18).

Fowler & McKewon Finding a Way
Freshman Reagan Fowler and junior Brad McKewon  have eached reached base safely in all the Jays’ 17 contests this season.  McKewon’s streak dates back to the final four games of 2012, giving him 21 straight.

Opening MVC Series Win
For the fourth time in the last five seasons the Jays earned a series win to open the Missouri Valley Conference schedule.  In 2012 the Jays dropped two of three to Evansville, but Creighton took series from Illinois State in 2011 (2-1), Southern Illinois in 2010 (2-1), Indiana State in 2009 (2-1).  Head Coach Ed Servais has led Creighton to a series win in seven of his 10 seasons.
Laying the Lumber, Allen Style
Not exactly known as a offensive juggernaut, assistant coach Spencer Allen is changing the image of Creighton baseball.  In his first year as the Associate Head Coach, Allen has the Jays atop the MVC in with a .310 batting average.  Six of the Jays’ typical starting lineup boast an average over .300, led by freshman Reagan Fowler’s .419 clip. Fowler currently sits second in the MVC, just ahead of sophomore Jake Peter at .411 and sophomore Kevin Lamb’s .405 (fifth in the MVC).

Newcomers Toeing the Rubber
Creighton has sent a newcomer to the hill in 12 of its 17 games this season.  The new Jays are learning to spread their wings quickly though, Creighton is 11-1 in those 12 contests.  Redshirt freshman Tommy Strunc has shouldered the bulk of the load, posting a 4-0 record in five starts.  The Bluejay teammates have certainly provided support to the young Jays, hitting .322 as a team.

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