It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Omaha. A nearly spotless blue sky with temperatures hanging in the mid-70’s, the few folks in attendance were on hand to see a pitcher’s duel and a walk-off in the 9th.
Creighton would get a run in the bottom of the first when Isaac Collins singled with one out. He’d proceed to steal second and advance to third on an errant throw by Wildcat catcher Doug deMarrais. Collins would touch home on a ground out by Luevano, giving the Jays a 1-0 advantage.
Bluejay starter Keith Rogalla was wild and bizarre, overpowering and dominant, inconsistent to start before settling into an impressive groove. The one blight on his outing came in the 2nd when a walk was followed by two consecutive singles. Chief Keith managed to squeak out of the inning with just one run scored which would be the only run he’d allow.
From then on neither team would score until the to 9th inning. Creighton had multiple opportunities to score. In every inning but the 6th, 7th, & 8th, the Bluejays had at least one baserunner on the bags, leaving 9 runners on base at the conclusion of the game.
Villanova managed to leave 6 on through the 9 inning affair, but were shut down by Rogalla, who struck out 10 in 8 innings of work. Rogalla threw 124 pitches, a stat that would make the most die hard Bluejay fans scratch their heads in confusion, since Ed Servais typically utilizes a strict pitch count with his pitchers in years past. Alas, we’ve entered the twilight zone.
The top of the ninth came and went, with Dave Gerber coming in to shut things down. He threw 11 pitches, 9 that were strikes, while giving up one hit. That one hit was a little controversial as it appeared that Jason Allbery had made a tag on the baserunner, but the runner was called safe.
Creighton led off the bottom of the 9th with a double into deep left center by Riley Landuyt. Landuyt was pulled for pinch runner Nick Ortega, who took third on a sac bunt by Bryce Only. With one out and Parker Upton to the dish, Villanova decided to intentionally walk Upton to get to Jason Allbery.
With runners on the corners, one out, Allbery squared up for a potential safety squeeze, attempting to lay one down the first base line, yet popped out to the catcher. It was a head scratcher, sure, but I thoroughly enjoyed the effort.
Clark Brinkman approached the plate with two outs. On the second pitch he poked a grounder to short, with Tim Lilly ranging to his right to field the ball.
The white pearl was in his glove. He had a tough play at first to get the speedy Brinkman.
Then, the ball popped out as he tried to transition from his glove to his hand. Brinkman safe at first.
Walk-off win on an error.
10 straight for the Bluejays, improving their conference record to 8-1 and overall at 18-16. Villanova, with the loss, drops to 2-4 in conference and 8-23 overall.