The Bluejays relief duo of sophomore Cade Lommel and junior Mark Lidd held Minnesota scoreless for the final 26 outs of Sunday’s affair, giving Creighton time to rally for a 4-2 victory.
With the win, the Jays completed a three game sweep of Minnesota, a Big Ten opponent with plenty of talent.
“Anytime you can beat a Big Ten school like Minnesota, especially one with such a rich tradition, it’s a good weekend,” coach Ed Servais said.
The Jays began the weekend with a walkoff by senior outfielder Chris Esposito to take Friday’s game 5-4, and then used an offensive outburst to dominate the Gophers for a 14-7 victory on Saturday.
This set the stage for the possibility of a sweep on Sunday, but the first inning of Sunday’s game put that outcome in doubt.
Sophomore starting pitcher Hudson Leach’s troubles started from the very first batter, plunking Minnesota’s leadoff hitter.
Minnesota was able to keep the pressure on from here, scoring two runs through their first three batters and prompting Servais to put in Lommel.
Lommel stabilized the game quickly, throwing 5.2 scoreless innings to keep Minnesota at two runs.
“Cade came into a really tough situation, but he was able to settle us down,” Servais said.
For Lommel, the key to his scoreless relief was his go-to breaking ball.
“I really put a focus on my slider, which allowed me to get ahead and put hitters away,” Lommel said.
His scoreless relief allowed the Jays time to rally, which they did in the fifth, using timely hitting to knot the score at two-a-piece.
The score remained that way until the eighth, in which the Jays pushed across two more runs via RBI groundouts from sophomore catcher Brant Voth and senior second baseman Andrew Meggs.
Lommel and Meggs, who finished the weekend with a .571 average, both earned Big East Honor Roll for their efforts against the Gophers.
Lidd, one of the only Jays with a perfect 0.00 ERA remaining on the roster, locked down the game in the ninth, his third inning of duty, to secure the win.
With the sweep, the Jays pushed their record to 9-6, having won nine of their last 11 games.
“We are getting better, which is the goal at this point of the year,” Servais said.
Creighton will be back in action on the road Friday against the Wichita State Shockers in the first of a three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the games will be broadcast on ESPN plus.
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