With the victory, Nebraska improved to 38-12 overall and 3-0 on the year against Creighton, while snapping a season-long four-game losing streak. The Bluejays slipped to 29-17, while losing for just the second time in the past 10 games. Tuesday's win also gave the Huskers their third sweep of their in-state rival since the 2000 campaign.
Shirek, a sophomore from Minot, N.D., making his third appearance of the season against Creighton, picked up the victory with an impressive and efficient outing to improve to 4-2 on the year. Shirek allowed just one run on five hits through six innings, while striking out three, as he improved to 2-0 with a 2.95 in three appearances against the Bluejays.
Pat Venditte took the loss in relief of starter Ben Mancuso. Venditte, who has had great success for the Bluejays as an ambidextrous pitcher, suffered just his second loss of the season to slip to 3-2. He allowed just one earned run on three hits and two walks in 3.1 innings of work.
Brown was one of three Huskers with three hits, as the junior college transfer matched his career high in hits and added his eighth homer of the season – and fourth in the last six contests. Jeff Christy and Jake Mort also had three hits, as NU out-hit Creighton, 12-8.
NU Head Coach said that the crowd of 21,158, the largest single-game crowd in college baseball this season and the ninth-largest crowd in NCAA Division I history, gave the Huskers an emotional lift.
"I was really looking forward to the energy tonight from the crowd because our kids needed that," Anderson said. That was good, and just getting the win was good."
The Bluejays manufactured a run in the top of the first, getting an two-out RBI single by Chris Gradoville, scoring Chase Odenreider, who was hit by a pitch before moving into scoring position on John Nowaczyk.
The Huskers got the equalizer in the fourth, getting a two-out RBI double off the bat of Jeff Christy, who has hitless in his last 14 at-bats before his second-inning single. After a one-out single by Brown, Opitz moved Brown into scoring position with a groundout before Christy doubled past third to plate the runner.
Nebraska took the lead for good in the seventh, as back-to-back doubles by Mort and Nick Jaros put runners on second and third with no outs. Mort led off the inning with a double to set up the big break the Huskers have been looking for over the past several games. Jaros sent a high fly ball down the line in right field that Odenreider lost in the twilight sky and it fell for a double, pushing Mort to third base. After a one-out intentional walk to Brandon Buckman, Luke Gorsett hammered a line drive to left that was caught by a sliding Zach Daeges for the second out. Mort scored easily on the sacrifice fly by Gorsett to give NU a 2-1 lead.
Brown pushed the lead to 3-1 with a solo homer off reliever Scott Reese to open the eighth. NU continued to rally in the eighth thanks in large part to Christy, who laced his third hit of the night with a triple off the wall in center field. Mort gave the Huskers a three-run cushion, scoring Mort with a single to center through the infield.
But Creighton refused to go out quietly, as the Bluejays loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning for Daeges, CU's top hitter. With two outs, Husker closer Brett Jensen retired Daeges on a flyout to the warning track in left field for the game's final out.
Jensen picked up his 10th save of the year, becoming the first Husker reliever in history to record back-to-back double-digit save totals in his career.
Nebraska will close the regular season this weekend at Hawks Field when the Huskers play host to Oklahoma. The three-game Big 12 series begins Friday at 6:35 p.m. Saturday's game is scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. first pitch and will be televised by Cox with distribution by Time Warner Cable in Lincoln on Channel 77. Sunday's game begins at 1:05 p.m. against the Sooners.
All three games will be carried live on radio by the Pinnacle Sports Network across Nebraska, and will be available on Huskers.com, along with live stats. Saturday and Sunday's games will also be available live on SIRIUS satellite radio on channel 147.