OMAHA, Neb. – Creighton scored nine unanswered runs that included a five-run fifth inning in rallying for a 9-4 victory over South Dakota State in nonconference baseball action Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Bluejays, who won for the eighth time in nine games, improved to 19-7 overall.
SDSU, which had its season-best four-game winning streak snapped, fell to 7-20 on the season.
The Jackrabbits got out to a fast start, building a 4-0 lead by scoring a pair of runs in each of the first two innings. In the opening inning, reigning Summit League Player of the Week Phil Velez continued his hot hitting by delivering a one-out single to left that scored both Anthony Schneider and Nick Smith.
Freshman catcher Derek Hackman led off the second inning for SDSU with a double to left-center, was bunted to third and scored on Tony Kjolsing’s single to left. Kjolsing scored what wound up being the Jackrabbits’ final run of the game on a groundout off the bat of Newt Johnson.
SDSU was poised to add to its lead after Schneider opened the fourth inning with a triple, but two foul outs and a groundout ended the threat.
Freshman right-hander Andrew Zimmerman made his collegiate debut for the Jackrabbits and pitched three shutout innings before giving up a two-run home run to left field by Jack Strunc with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.
Zimmerman exited after allowing a leadoff double in the fifth inning. Creighton went on to send 10 more men to the plate against four Jackrabbit pitchers in the inning. Will Robertson knotted the game at 4-all with a two-run single and Thomas Luevano plated the go-ahead run with an infield single. The Bluejays tallied four hits and were the beneficiaries of four walks in the inning.
Creighton put the game out of reach with two more runs in the seventh inning, taking advantage of two Jackrabbit errors. SDSU committed a total of four errors in the game.
SDSU out-hit Creighton, 11-8, but managed only one hit after the fourth inning. Smith recorded a team-high three hits in five trips to the plate, while Hackman registered his first collegiate multi-hit game by going 2-for-3.
Strunc was 3-for-4 to lead the Bluejays, while Luevano was 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs.
Zimmerman struck out one, walked one and surrendered four hits in four-plus innings.
The Creighton bullpen pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and was led by Ian Evans, who was credited with the win after hurling the first 3 2/3 innings of relief. Evans did not walk or strike out a batter.
NOTES: Creighton leads the all-time series, 25-8, and has won the last nine meetings dating back to 2012. ... Smith recorded his fourth multi-hit game in a row. ... Both Newt Johnson and Landon Badger extended their hitting streaks to eight game. ... Johnson has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games. ... With his two-run single in the first inning, Velez has driven in nine runs over the last three games. ... SDSU used a season-high seven pitchers in the game. ... Jackrabbit pitchers combined to issue nine walks and struck out only five batters.
The Jackrabbits are scheduled to return to Summit League action today with a doubleheader against North Dakota State.
The games have been moved to Sioux Falls and will be played at Karras Park Home of Ronken Field on the Augustana University campus, starting at 11 a.m.
Photo from www.gojacks.com.