Bluejays Grounded in Conference Tournament

Find out what went wrong this week for Creighton baseball. The two-time defending conference tournament champions came up short, going 0-2 in their final MVC tournament.

Creighton (30-18) entered their last Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament as defending back-to-back champions. The Jays went 0-and-2 in Normal with an opening round defeat to sixth seeded Indiana State and then lost to Wichita State in the losers bracket. Here's a brief recap of the tournament.

Tuesday, May 21 – 6 Indiana State (24-23) 4 v. 3 Creighton (30-16) 3
Indiana State scored first, putting runs up in the second and third innings, only needing two hits. Creighton starter Tommy Strunc lasted only 1.2 innings and didn't allow a hit while allowing one run. Five walks plagued the Bluejays' ace. In the bottom of the sixth, the Jays got one run back when Alex Staehely's sac fly scored Federico Castagnini.

A controversial play occurred later in the inning when Reagan Fowler hit a grounder that was bobbled by Indiana State and the throw looked to pull the Sycamore first basemen off the bag, but the ump called him out, ending the inning. Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Jordan Makovicka started the Jays rally with a leadoff single. With two outs, Castagnini walked, bringing up Jake Peter who singled to second.

Mike Gerber stepped in with a bases-loaded single and drove in two runs, bringing CU to within one run. The game ended when Staehely hit into a fielder's choice to third base.
Wednesday, May 22 – 3 Creighton (30-17) 4 v. 2 Wichita State (34-26) 11
Much like the opening game, Creighton fell behind early when starter Austin Groth couldn't get out of the first inning. Groth lasted only a third of an inning on the mound, allowing three runs on five hits. CU narrowed the margin to 5-3 in the fourth inning when Fowler's triple scored Staehely. Kevin Lamb followed up with an RBI single.

That's as close as the Jays would get, as the Shockers would add six runs over the next three innings. The Bluejays' bats had no answer for Shockers starter, and Omaha native, A.J. Ladwig. Ladwig tossed a complete game for Wichita. Fowler led Creighton, going 2-for-4 and scoring two runs on the afternoon. Next game: This was potentially CU's last game under the MVC flag as they'll wait and see what happens with Monday's NCAA tournament selection show.

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