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Bryce Only hits a walk-off single, Jays win 6-5 over South Dakota State in 11 innings.

The veteran third baseman had 4 hits on the evening, none bigger than his last.

Another mid-week Creighton baseball game.

Another 4 hour ballgame with a pitching change almost every single inning.

Another win for the Bluejays.

In the large scheme of things, as we’ve learned in the past, these mid-week ballgames don’t really matter too much. What matters is making the conference tournament and winning the damn thing because the BIG EAST will be a one-bid league forever since the average RPI of the conference sits in the 130’s and they devour themselves from within.

We saw that this weekend when our lovely 2nd-worst RPI Bluejays won the series against top-15 RPI Johnnies from Queens.

On to the recap of this slightly chilly Tuesday evening in Omaha between the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State and the Bluejays of Creighton.

South Dakota State got a base hit off of Austin Stroschein with one out in the 3rd. After Stroschein got a guy to pop out, lefty Grant Spranger came on to face a left handed hitter in what appeared to be a LOOGY situation, yet the lefty got Spranger to throw one over the middle and drove it to deep center, over Brinkman’s head, and the runner from first came into score.

1-0, Jackrabbits.

Creighton answered in the bottom half after Brinkman doubled down the left field line and Isaac Collins worked a full count walk, eventually leading to a sac bunt that moved both runners into scoring position. Brinkman would score on a wild pitch, with Collins moving to third. That’d be all the Jays could muster, but they tied the game up.

1-1, tie ballgame.

As a precursor to the rest of this recap, I’d like to inform you that these mid-week games offer the Bluejays the unenviable task of using everyone in their bullpen to pitch in a live action game. I’m not necessarily sure that there’s a specific gameplan in place other than to use everyone that has an arm on the game mound at some point, but more intelligent minds with more control of the ballclub probably have something figured out.

Here’s the list of pitchers Creighton used tonight, their innings, and their pitch count:

  • Austin Stroschein - 2.2 IP/ 54 pitches
  • Grant Spranger - 1 IP / 25 pitches
  • Houston Glad - .2 IP / 28 pitches
  • Jackson ‘the Mountain’ Vescelus - 1 IP / 25 pitches
  • Brennan Hammer - 1 IP / 15 pitches
  • John Sakowski - .2 IP / 7 pitches
  • Ethan DeCaster - 1 IP / 12 pitches
  • Daver Gerber - 1 IP / 29 pitches
  • Ryan Tapani - 2 IP / 34 pitches

This didn’t quite break the record for Creighton pitchers used in a regulation ballgame but my lord did it create a bevy of lulls. Luckily, the game was close and exciting. Let’s continue on with the rest of the recap I guess!

Creighton scored again in the bottom of the fourth when Bryce Only led things off with a double. Parker Upton moved him to third after he put down a downright gorgeous bunt, landing him safely at first, and winning him the favor of Ed Servais - who is currently at home ill. Jason Allbery would lift a ball into foul territory, with South Dakota State’s second baseman ranging out and making a diving grab, giving Only ample time to tag and score.

After Michael Emodi struck out after pinch hitting for Blake Whitecotton, Clark Brinkman would double to deep left center, scoring Upton and giving the Jays a two run lead.

3-1, Bluejays.

South Dakota State would answer back immediately, stringing together a series of base hits to put in two against the Bluejays, tying the game, and allowing this marathon of a baseball game to continue at its glacial pace.

The Jackrabbits would score yet again in the top half of the 6th, seizing the lead after a single and a double brought the runner home. There was no real play at the plate because this is college baseball, baby.

4-3, Jackrabbits.

The Bluejays would miraculously come back in the bottom of the eighth after Bryce Only singled with one out. Only would get caught on the basepaths between first and second on a Parker Upton grounder, leaving two outs in the inning. Jason Allbery would acquire a meat unit, and like that, the Jays would have a runner in scoring position.

2 outs.

Michael Emodi to the dish.

On a 1-1 pitch, Emodi would ground a ball through the left side, just past a diving short stop, scoring Upton and leaving the entire ballpark on edge as Clark Brinkman would approach the plate.

He’d line out.

4-4, tie ballgame.

The top of the ninth arrived. The Bluejay bullpen had been completely depleted, yet one arm remained in the insatiable David Gerber.

David Gerber, the man with the crazy pants arm angle, the man who throws in the high 70’s, low 80’s, the shutdown closer with a bad attitude but a great taste in television, would take the mound.

29 pitches later, South Dakota State had the lead, and seemingly, the game.

5-4, Jackrabbits.

I thought it was over. I thought I’d be heading home after writing a bunch of words, raking a bunch of dirt, cutting a bunch of grass, and painting some white lines, cruising to taste the bitter hops on my lips of a day’s end brew.

Nah.

Isaac Collins started the bottom of the ninth off with a single.

Good!

Tommy Luevano would hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Bad!

Riley Landuyt would single to left field.

Good!

Ben ‘MEAT LOCKER’ Reznicek would pinch hit for Landuyt, advancing the next pitch as it skittered away from the catcher.

Good!

Will Robertson, just a pitch later, would bomb one into right field, causing the right fielder to panic and sprint towards the warning track, stabbing at the ball, watching the ball bounce off his glove and onto the warning track, allowing MEAT LOCKER to score.

Unreal.

Bryce Only would follow with a ground out to second.

5-5, tie ballgame.

Extras.

Ryan Tapani would come in to hurl the white pearl in the top of the 10th, allowing a base hit but striking out two and getting another to fly out.

In the bottom half, it appeared that all hope was lost before Michael Emodi got a late swing on a high-outside fastball, taking it to the opposite field, ending his journey at second base.

2 outs.

Runner in scoring position.

Clark Brinkman up.

Brinkman, on the first pitch, slapped a shot to the hole on the left side. Emodi was off on the pitch, but the short stop managed to dive and collect the ball, forcing Emodi to stay at third while Brinkman arrived safely at first. Brinkman took second on a deferred steal, and Isaac Collins had a chance to play hero.

He grounded out to the short stop.

11th inning. 5-5 ballgame.

Ryan Tapani, who was banged around by Nebraska just a week ago, came out and shut down the Jackrabbits in order. Everyone exhaled in relief.

In the bottom half, Tommy Luevano led off with a single to the left side. Nick Ortega then sac bunted Luevano over, leaving Will Robertson at the dish with one out.

South Dakota State intentionally walked Robertson.

Bryce Only stepped to the plate.

1 out.

Bottom of the 11th.

Clutch.

On a 2-2 pitch, Only laced a single up the middle, sending the ball bounding off the pitchers mound and into center fielder. The center fielder charged the ball as Luevano rounded third, and fired a throw that was high and wide of the catcher.

Game over.

Jays win 6-5.


Stats!!!

CREIGHTON

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE