Dominant pitching performances and an offensive outburst led the Creighton baseball team to a season-opening sweep of CSU Bakersfield. The Jays defeated the Roadrunners 5-0, 5-1 and 10-4.
The Jays capped off the sweep with a six-run victory on Sunday afternoon in Bakersfield behind 13 hits and five walks.
Junior infielders Reagan Fowler, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Harrison Crawford each recorded three hits Sunday. Fowler knocked home four runs and scored once, while Fitzgerald and Crawford each notched an RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore shortstop Nicky Lopez picked up two hits, two runs and two RBIs while walking once. Sophomore outfielder Daniel Woodrow added a hit, two runs, and two RBIs at the top of the order.
“I think the biggest difference is there are more guys throughout the lineup who can do different things like bunt for base hits, hit and run, run and hit,” Fowler said. “Whereas last year we only had two or three guys, this year we might have five or six who can all put pressure on the defense.”
Sophomore pitcher Jeff Albrecht picked up his first win after coming in to relieve junior Tommy Strunc in the second inning. Strunc issued two walks and hit a batter that allowed Bakersfield to take a 1-0 lead off of a sacrifice fly in the opening frame. Albrecht pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowed just two hits, issued two walks and struck out two batters.
Four walks, three hits and one error gave the Bluejays a six-run fifth inning and a form a 6-1 lead over the Roadrunners.
Freshman Keith Rogalla took over for Albrecht and pitched another 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and walking one batter while striking out two Bakersfield hitters. The Roadrunners got some life in the eighth inning as they tagged junior pitcher Connor Miller for three runs to cut the lead to 9-4.
The Bluejays scored four runs over the final three innings of the game, and junior pitcher Nick Highberger did not allow a hit in the final 1 1/3 innings as the Jays went on to win 10-4.
Despite allowing 11 hits, five Bluejay pitchers combined to allow just one run in Saturday’s 5-1 victory. Matt Warren, the Big East preseason co-pitcher of the year, started the game with five strong innings, allowing one run off of six hits while striking out four.
Warren left the game with the teams knotted at one run apiece. Redshirt freshman Rollie Lacy and junior John Oltman each pitched one inning while allowing a combined two hits and two walks while striking out
Lacy picked up the win as the Jays scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning off of two errors and a wild pitch. A squeeze bunt from Fitzgerald scored Lopez, and a throwing error allowed junior outfielder Brett Murray to score. Fitzgerald eventually came around to score on a wild pitch.
“I think we’re more athletic than we’ve been maybe in the last four or five years,” coach Ed Servais said. “We don’t have as much power, and because of that we’re going to be really creative on the base paths. You’ll see us steal more bags, hit and run more, safety squeezes, those kinds of things to try to generate some activity on the base paths.”
Four Roadrunner errors proved costly in the 5-1 loss.
Creighton used four relief pitchers to secure the victory.
“It takes pressure off of everybody,” Warren said. “You’re not going to have to have a perfect outing every time.
“Overall, there’s less pressure on the pitchers since we have so much depth. We all trust each other to get
The Jays used just three pitchers to shut out the Roadrunners in their season opener on Friday evening. The staff allowed four hits and three walks while striking out six in the game.
Jack Rogalla, a graduate transfer from Binghamton, received the opening day nod over Warren and went five innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four.
“I like Jack Rogalla a lot,” Servais said. “I like his poise; I like his presence. He can command three pitches, he’s done it before. He went up against high-caliber teams on the east coast.
“It tells you a little bit about what I think about our starting rotation that we would move Matt from a Friday to a Saturday.”
Junior Taylor Elman and Highberger yielded just two hits in the final four innings of Friday’s contest.
The top five batters in the order recorded nine of the Bluejays’ 10 hits, and accounted for all five RBIs and four runs. Lopez recorded three hits, and Murray led the way with two RBIs. Woodrow and Fowler each recorded two hits in the 5-0 win.
After outscoring its opening weekend opponent 20-5, Creighton looks to continue its success as it takes on the Northwestern State Demons this weekend.
The Demons face the Bluejays on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. and in a single game on Sunday at noon.
Northwestern State (1-3) lost its first three games to the Troy Trojans before picking up a 9-5 victory on Sunday. Catcher C.J. Webster finished the weekend with three doubles and five RBIs.
Before welcoming Creighton to Louisiana, the Demons hosted the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on Wednesday.
All three games will be played in Natchitoches, Louisiana.