Minneapolis, Minn. — Despite a stellar start (five scoreless innings) from closer John Sakowski, the Creighton baseball team fell at Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday, March 10th.
The loss moved the Bluejays to 5-9 on the season, while Minnesota climbed to 7-10 overall.
The Bluejays struck first, pushing across a run in the fourth. Sophomore Andrew Meggs opened the inning with a walk, took second on a sacrifice, then came home via an RBI double by senior Ryan Mantle.
With a 1-0 lead Sakowski escaped a bases loaded jam in the fourth, then delivered a flawless fifth. Creighton missed an opportunity to add to its lead in the fifth as Meggs reached on an error, then scampered to third on a failed pick off attempt. Consecutive strikeouts, however, stymied the Bluejays efforts.
Reliever Griffin Holderfield came on in the sixth, striking out the first Gopher he faced. Holderfield allowed a single the the following Minnesota hitter, but secured the second out quickly. Consecutive singles by Golden Gophers Jack Kelly and Otto Grimm tied the game at 1-1, then a walk to Sam Ireland loaded the bases and sent Holderfield to the dugout. Creighton southpaw Paul Bergstrom was battled Minnesota’s Chase Stanke to a 3-2 count, before allowing a two-run ground-rule double. Bergstrom struck out the next Gopher, yet Minnesota held a 3-1 edge.
Bergstrom was touched for two additional runs in the seventh, extending Minnesota’s lead to 5-1. In the eighth the Bluejays inched closer as Meggs smacked a two-out single, senior Parker Upton reached on an error, then Mantle delivered an RBI single to left.
Down 5-2 entering the ninth, the Bluejays refused to go quietly. The inning began as pinch hitter David Vilches was hit by a pinch, then Garrett Gilbert drew a walk. One out later pinch hitter Alan Roden singled to right to load the bases with one down. Junior Will Hanafan followed with an RBI single to left-center. Although the bags remained full of Bluejays, back-to-back strikeouts closed out the game.
Minnesota starter Trent Schoeberl moved to 2-0 with the win, allowing one run on two hits over six innings. Schoeberl recorded seven strikeouts and walked one. Holderfield took the loss (0-1), allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Minnesota closer Sam Ireland came into the final frame after Vilches and Gilbert reached. He picked up his second save without allowing a run as he got the final three outs.
Offensively both Meggs and Mantle finished 2-for-4 for the Bluejays. Meggs scored twice, while Mantle drove him in both times.
Creighton and Minnesota wrap up the two-game series on Wednesday, March 11th at 6:00 pm.