Freshman Rollie Lacy threw a four-hitter in the Bluejays’ first shutout of the season.
The Creighton baseball team (21-10, 6-1 Big East) gained sole possession of first place in the Big East with a 6-0 victory Friday night in the first of three games at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha against St. John’s.
Lacy (4-0) needed only 100 pitches to get 27 outs for the first complete game by a Bluejay pitcher since Bryan Sova’s five-hit performance against Seton Hall during last season’s Big East Tournament.
The Minnesota native had career-high eight strikeouts and walked only one.
He also allowed only three fly-ball outs and four hits.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen a complete-game shutout with only one free base,” coach Ed Servais said, “and they got [four] hits and didn’t really drive a ball all night.
“It shows what you can do when you have secondary stuff, and he had his secondary stuff tonight. I hope the other pitchers are watching because he gave you a blueprint on how to be successful on the mound.”
Lacy used a combination of fastballs, sliders and change ups to keep the St. John’s hitters off-balance the entire game.
“Throwing a slider for a strike is something coach wants me to do and that I’ve kind of worked on,” Lacy said. “I was really comfortable with all of my pitches tonight.”
Lacy threw a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 30 batters he faced on Friday.
“When you get that first-pitch strike across, that opens up so much more for [hitters] to swing at some,” Lacy said, “and [it] allows me to throw a variety of pitches for the next strike.”
Lacy retired 13 consecutive St. John’s hitters after allowing a single to the first batter in the second inning.
Offensively, junior designated hitter Matt Gandy led the Jays with three hits in three at bats, including an RBI-double in the sixth inning.
Junior third baseman Harrison Crawford scored three runs for the Jays and senior catcher Kevin Lamb added two RBIs.
“We have a good team offense,” Gandy said. “Every person is going to go up there and get something done, whether it’s me or the other guy, we’re all capable of it.”
The Bluejays started the scoring early, pushing across one run in the first inning after a lead-off single from sophomore center fielder Daniel Woodrow. Woodrow stole second, reached third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a ground out.
“I really liked the way we executed in the first inning,” Servais said. “That’s how we have to play. We haven’t had enough of those innings.”
St. John’s (20-13, 5-2) delivered only one real threat that was in the top of the ninth. Lacy walked John Valente to open the frame and allowed a single to Alex Caruso, forcing Servais out of the dugout to talk to his young starter.
“I wanted to get one more out,” Servais said. “I wasn’t really thinking about him finishing the game; I just wanted to try to get one more out to save our bullpen so we had a legitimate chance the rest of the weekend.”
Following the mound visit, Lacy struck out a pinch hitter and induced a double play to end the game on his first pitch to the No. 3 hitter, and his 100th pitch of the game.
Lacy’s performance helped conserve the energy of Creighton’s bullpen for the remainder of the weekend.
“We have really solid guys stepping up in the ‘pen this year,” Lacy said, “and having them for two games, we should be pretty confident in the backside of the game.”
Creighton and St. John’s are scheduled to play game two of the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m.