TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Two big innings for the Creighton Bluejays in the middle of game sent the visitors to victory on Saturday afternoon, as the Bluejays won game two of the Missouri Valley Conference series by a score of 9-5 over the Indiana State Sycamores on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Sycamores, dropping their record to 19-13 on the season and 2-3 in the MVC. The Bluejays improved to 25-7, 4-1 in conference play. ISU's four-game losing skid is their longest since losing seven straight games to end the 2009 season.
Creighton jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning. Senior Jimmy Swift knocked in the first run with a single through the left side of the infield, before crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Alex Staehely. The Bluejays extended their lead to 3-0 in the third on a solo home run by junior Nick Judkins.
The Sycamores tied the score on one swing of the bat by sophomore Koby Kraemer in the bottom of the third inning, as Kraemer tallied his second homer of the season with a shot to left field. Juniors Jeff Miera and Lucas Hileman reached base on singles before Kraemer tied the game.
The Bluejays regained the lead for good in the fifth inning, scoring three runs to take a 6-3 lead. All three runs in the inning came with two outs and were unearned following an error by the Sycamores. Creighton scored three more runs in the seventh inning, using a single by Swift and a two-run home run by senior Trever Adams to put runs on the board.
ISU's final attempt at a comeback came in the seventh inning, as the Sycamores scored two runs on four hits in the frame. Hileman and Kraemer tallied back-to-back run-scoring singles to plate junior Kyle Burnam and sophomore Jordan Pearson, cutting the Creighton lead to 9-5, but senior reliever Jack VanLeur forced sophomore Jeremy Lucas to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning as the Sycamores left the bases loaded in the seventh.
Senior Jason Van Skike (3-2) took the loss on Saturday, allowing seven runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out three and walking two on 93 pitches. Junior Reggie Hochstedler and senior Brett Merkley pitched in relief, with Merkley striking out four batters over his 2.1 scoreless innings on the mound. Senior Jonas Dufek (6-0) earned the victory, allowing five runs on five hits over 6.2 innings.
Kraemer led ISU the plate, going 2-for-5 with four runs batted in and one run scored. Hileman also tallied two hits, picking up one RBI and one run scored as well.
The Sycamores will look to avoid the series sweep on Sunday, when freshman southpaw Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.14 ERA) takes the mound against Creighton's senior lefty Greg Hellhake (3-1, 3.62 ERA).
The last time ISU was swept in a conference series was on May 14-16, 2009, at Missouri State, part of that seven-game losing skid to end the 2009 season. ISU has not been swept at home in MVC play since Missouri State won all three games in Terre Haute on May 2-4, 2008.
Postgame recap with head coach Rick Heller: