CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Creighton took advantage of a pair of Charlotte errors in the fifth and tack on an important insurance run in the ninth to score a 3-1 victory in non-conference baseball action on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays (4-4) scored two unearned runs in the fifth to help push the Niners (2-6) to their fifth-straight loss.
As they did Friday, the Niners jumped on the board first staking themselves out to a 1-0 lead after four. Brett Lang extended his hit streak to eight with a one-out single to center in front of Des Roberts being plunked by a pitch. Roberts was key moments later beating out a throw to second that would have been the second out.
Logan Sherer hit the groundball to short that Roberts beat the throw on to second allowing the Niners to load the bases with one out, instead of first and third with two outs. Mikal Hill followed with a fielder’s choice to second, beating out the relay throw to first as Creighton tried to turn two to end the frame, allowing Lang to score with the game’s first run.
Creighton responded just a half inning later to take a 2-1 lead at the halfway point of Saturday’s matinee. Brandon Mikulka started by reaching on a throwing error at short and moved to third on a perfect hit-and-run executed by Nicky Lopez. Leadoff man Brad McKewon soon brought home Mikulka with the first unearned run on his fielder’s choice to short. Jake Peter would put the Blue Jays on top with his sacrifice fly to center two batters later scoring McKewon with the go-ahead tally.
In the ninth, Brad McKewon blasted a solo home run to left on the first pitch extending Creighton’s lead to 3-1. Charlotte mounted a rally in the bottom half of the ninth as Hill and pinch-hitter Kenny Palmer put together back-to-back one out singles. However, the Blue Jays took advantage of a failed hit-and-run as Hill was thrown out at third for the second out. Corbin Shive would strike out two pitches later to end the ballgame.
Lopez and McKewon posted a pair of hits each in the win despite the Niners holding a 6-5 advantage in the hits column. Creighton starter Matt Warren (2-0) picked up the win throwing six innings allowing the one run on four hits with five strikeouts. The Jays bullpen again held Charlotte in check over the final three frames as John Oltman, Nick Highberger and Bryan Sova combined on a two-hit shutout the rest of the way.
Hill led the Niners offensively with a 2-for-4 outing driving in the lone run in the fourth. Corey Roberts (0-1) suffers the tough-luck loss after going 7.2 innings, allowing two runs, both unearned, on four hits with seven strikeouts.
“Roberts was really, really good,” remarked Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “We just didn’t get a break today against a good team. I thought Creighton played well, played really good defense and got the ball to find holes they needed to."
The Niners will now try and salvage the finale game of the series in Sunday’s finale beginning at 1:00 p.m. Charlotte will send RHP Brock Hudgens (0-0, 1.00) to the mound against Creighton’s southpaw Jeff Albrecht (0-0, 0.00). Live stats and audio will be available through http://www.charlotte49ers.com.
Tickets for Sunday’s finale are available by contacting the Niners ticket office at 704-687-4949. Fans with tickets for Sunday’s men’s basketball game vs. Old Dominion at 4:00 p.m. will receive free admission to baseball by showing your basketball ticket at the Hayes Stadium ticket office.
· Four of the Niners hit streaks were extended on Saturday while one came to an end. Brett Lang (8), Brad Elwood (6), T.J. Nichting (5) and Mikal Hill (3) all extended theirs while freshman Zach Jarrett snapped his at seven going 0-for-3.
· Both unearned runs scored by Creighton in the fifth marks the 11th and 12th unearned runs scored by an opponent through eight games this season.