CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Creighton responded to a 6-0 deficit by scoring seven unanswered runs over the final five innings to pick up a come-from-behind 7-6, 10-inning victory over Charlotte on Friday night. The Blue Jays racked up 14 hits in the win sending Charlotte to their fourth-straight loss.
Scoring just two first inning runs through six games, Charlotte would put a three-spot on the board early to stake themselves out to a 3-0 lead. T.J. Nichting began with a one-out walk before Brett Lang immediately extended his team-high hit streak to seven with a two-out double to the gap in left-center.
Desmond Roberts followed with his own double down the right field line to easily score Lang and Nichting for an early 2-0 Niners lead. Logan Sherer slapped Charlotte’s third-straight double three pitches later with a shot down the left-field line to plate Roberts for the three-run advantage.
The Niner offense continue to roll with another three-run frame in the fourth extending the lead out to six. Sherer led off with a base hit to center before a Grant Dunnegan pushed Sherer to third after Zach Jarrett’s sacrifice bunt. Matt Creech’s groundout to second would score Dunnegan to make it 4-0 before Derek Gallello roped a triple into the gap in right-center. Gallello would score Charlotte’s sixth run of the day on the next pitch as Nichting singled to left. Nichting advanced his hit streak to four with that fourth inning single.
Creighton would get a couple of the runs back in the sixth as back-to-back singles by Brad McKewon and Ryan Fitzgerald led things off. After a Jake Peter fly out to left, Mike Gerber sliced a single to center to load the bases. The Blue Jays would then score their pair of runs on back-to-back walks issued to Reagan Fowler and Kevin Lamb to cut their deficit to four.
Offensive momentum carried over into the Creighton seventh as the Jays scored three more to make it a one-run, 6-5 game at the stretch. Nicky Lopez began with a pinch-hit single to right before McKewon followed with his own single to left. After a Fitzgerald sacrifice bunt moved them to second and third, Peter would bring both around on a double down the right-field line making a 6-4 contest. After a wild pitch enabled Peter to scoot to third, Mike Gerber’s groundout to short would be enough to bring in Peter for a one-run game.
Creighton would erase the previous six-run deficit completely with a tying run in the top of the ninth to set up extra innings. McKewon again sparked the rally with a leadoff infield single deep in the hole at short before a Peter single to right setup Gerber. Gerber followed by lacing a 2-0 pitch into left to bring in McKewon.
In the decisive tenth, Brett Murray would lead off with a double to right-center to setup the Blue Jays up for small ball. After pinch-hitter Brandon Mikulka did his job by sacrificing Murray to third, Lopez came up with the eventual game-winner lifting a sacrifice fly to easily score Murray.
“We need to keep learning and keep getting better,” said Head Coach Loren Hibbs afterwards. “ I thought the energy level was good. The issue is we just have to find a way, to be able to take a deep breath either offensively or defensively and re-focus.”
McKewon was the spark for Creighton in the leadoff spot going 4-for-6 in Friday’s opener with a double and three runs scored. Peter finished with a three-hit night and pair of runs driven in while Gerber and Murray each recorded two hits. Sherer had the Niners only multi-hit game going 2-for-5 with his RBI double in the first.
The bullpen trio of Will Bamesberger, Max Ising and Bryan Sova would combine to shutout the Niners over the final six innings as each hurler threw two innings. Bamesberger and Ising would give up the only two remaining hits while all had at-least one strikeout.
Game two of the weekend set will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday as the Niners send RHP Corey Roberts (0-0, 1.35) to the hill against the Blue Jays RHP Matt Warren (1-0, 2.70). Tickets are available for the rest of the weekend by calling the Charlotte 49ers ticket office at 704-687-4949. Live stats and video of Saturday’s tilt can be accessed through http://www.charlotte49ers.com with live, in-game updates via Twitter @49erGameDay.
- * Charlotte picked up 10 hits in the loss marking the fifth time in seven games recording double-digit hits. However, the Niners are just 2-3 in the matchups.
- * Friday marked Charlotte’s third extra-inning affair through the first seven games of 2014, now 1-2 in free baseball.