Omaha, Neb. – Facing the Creighton Bluejays on Friday night for the first time since 1997, the Nebraska baseball team was unable to open the TD Ameritrade Park Classic with a win, as the Jays held on for 5-3 win in front of 8,395 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.
Rich Sanguinetti and Chad Christensen were the only Huskers with multiple hits on the night, while Creighton’s 2-3-4-5 hits all had at least two hits, going a combined 9-for-19.
Junior Christian DeLeon lost his first game in over a month to fall to 5-3 on the year, while Creighton’s Tommy Strunc improved to 6-1 with his 6.0 innings of work.
Twice the Huskers cut Creighton’s lead to one run and had the tying run on base, but CU’s arms was able to do just enough to keep the Huskers from tying the game.
The Jays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on three-straight hits. After DeLeon retired leadoff hitter Brad McKewon, the Jays put on a pair with consecutive singles. Alex Staehly came through with an RBI double down the third-base line and Reagan Fowler followed with an RBI groundout.
Nebraska got on the board in the bottom of the third, starting with a double from Bryan Peters, his fourth of the season. Sanguinetti then put a perfect bunt down the first base line, where no one could make a play, putting runners on the corners with no out. After Strunc struck out Pat Kelly, Michael Pritchard laid a safety squeeze down the first-base line that easily scored Peters from third. With the tying run at second, Strunc got Chad Christensen to fly out to left field to end the inning.
Creighton got the run back in the top of the fourth on a two-out single. Reagan Fowler led off with single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a groundout. Michael Blatchford then delivered a clutch two-out single on a 0-1 pitch from DeLeon that put Creighton back ahead by two, 3-1.
The Jays plated an insurance run in seventh, increasing their lead to three, 4-1. With the Husker infield drawn in, Federico Castagnini hit a soft ground ball to second base and Kelly tried to make a play at the plate, but Blatchford beat the throw home after leading off the inning with a single.
The Huskers rallied in the top of the seven, as they loaded the bases with a lead walk to Blake Headley, a single from Taylor Fish and a walk to Peters. Sanguinetti then drove in Headley with a liner up the middle. Reliever Mark Winkelman then got a big double play ball off the bat of Kelly, but Fish scored to make it a one run lead. With Peters representing the tying run at third, Pritchard flied out in his final at-bat of the game to end the seventh. The fly out also put an end to the junior’s 20-game hitting streak.
The Jays added a run in the ninth off Dylan Vogt and Jake Peter retired the Huskers in the bottom of the frame to pick up his sixth save of the season.
Nebraska returns to TD Ameritrade Park tomorrow for a doubleheader with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, with game one scheduled for 11:05 a.m. and game two to follow 45 minutes after the end of game 1. It will be the Huskers seventh double header of the season. Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane will have the call across the Husker Sports Network, including for free on Huskers.com.