April 22, 2011
By Jason Clay
OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to overcome a one-run deficit and beat the Southern Illinois baseball team, 5-4, Friday night in the first Missouri Valley Conference game ever played at TD Ameritrade Park, the new home of the College World Series.
Southern Illinois (13-24, 4-3 MVC) did everything it could to win the series opener. Jake Welch's RBI double with two outs in the top of the ninth pushed the game into extra innings. Then, again with two outs in the top of the 10th, Wes Neece scored from third on a wild pitch to give the Salukis the 4-3 lead.
However, Anthony Bemboom tied the game for Creighton (27-8, 6-1 MVC) with his RBI double in the bottom of the 10th. Chance Ross then brought home the winning run with his bloop single that scored Alex Staehely from third as the home crowd of 10,814 erupted.
Both starting pitchers set new career-highs for strikeouts in a game and the two teams combined to strike out 21 times Friday night.
SIU's Tyler Dray (1-1) recorded the loss, giving up the winning runs in the 10th. Bluejay reliever Reese McGraw drew the victory, as he was the pitcher of record for Creighton when the game ended.
Cameron Maldonado struck out 10 in the game, becoming the first Saluki since Cody Adams on March 1, 2008 to have 10 strikeouts in a game. He allowed just four hits, three runs and walked three in 6.2 innings.
Creighton's Ty Blach fanned nine Salukis in his 6.2 innings of work. He gave up seven hits to Southern, allowed two runs and did not walk a batter.
Bluejay right fielder Trever Adams saw his 18-game hitting streak come to an end Friday. He was 0-for-3 Friday and Maldonado struck him out once, but also hit him once when the bases were loaded to give him one RBI.
Both Maldonado and Blach came out dealing, as Blach had six strikeouts through three innings and Maldonado fanned seven.
On Maldonado's seventh strikeout, which came against Erik Mattingly, Mattingly reached as his called third strike went to the backstop. Maldonado then walked the next two batters to load the bases up with one out.
After Maldonado got Jimmy Swift to foul out, he hit Adams to allow the first run of the game to come home.
Mike Gerber gave the Jays a 2-0 lead in the fourth with his solo home run to right-center.
SIU finally got to Blach in the sixth. Murphy led off the inning with a single and two batters later he moved to third on Montgomery's double. Brock Harding then came through with a double down the right-field line to plate both runners and tie the game.
Michael Mutcheson gave Creighton a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh on his one-out sacrifice fly to center that scored Ross, who doubled to lead off the inning.
Welch tied the game up for Southern in the ninth with his double to the wall in right field, bringing home Nick Johnson from first base.
SIU would then score again in the ninth on a ball four wild pitch from McGraw, but the Salukis couldn't hang onto that one-run lead and ended up falling, 5-4.