Box Score: Creighton 16, Bradley 6, 7 innings
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Creighton’s 16-6 victory over Bradley hardly qualified as your typical college baseball rout.
For the first four innings, the Bluejays appeared destined to be the routee. They trailed 6-0 and didn’t get a hit off Braves’ starter John Nasshan until Trever Adams singled with two outs in the fourth inning.
Over the span of the next three innings, Creighton scored 16 runs and ended the game, because of the 10-run rule, when Adams tripled in the Bluejays’ eighth run of the seventh inning.
“That was a little bit unusual,’’ Creighton designated hitter Michael Mutcheson said. “We came out pretty slow but they say hitting is contagious. I’m proud of the boys because we did a great job of coming back.’’
Creighton coach Ed Servais agreed that the dramatic turnaround, which came before 4,003 at TD Ameritrade Park, ranked with an early-season win over New Mexico on the weird scale. The Bluejays also trailed the Lobos 6-0 before pulling out an 8-7 win in 11 innings.
“We looked like we were kind of sleepwalking the first four or five innings today,’’ Servais said. “That day against New Mexico, they gave us a chance with some walks. Bradley gave us a chance today, and then we got two big two-out hits from Mutcheson and Swift.
“Once we got it back within 6-4, you knew we were back on track and we were back in it.’’
Mutcheson’s drove in Creighton’s first run with a two-out fifth-inning single that followed a walk and a hit batter. Another walk loaded the bases, and Swift delivered the first of his three doubles, a three-run gapper to left field that cleared the bases.
“That was a big two-out hit by Mike to get things rolling,’’ Swift said.
Mutcheson supplied an even bigger one in the sixth when he hit his first career homer, a line-hugging, three-run shot into the left-field bullpen. The homer gave Creighton an 8-6 lead.
Asked what he was thinking as he stood at home plate and watched his hit fly through the air, Mutcheson chuckled and said, “Stay fair. I hit it pretty well but I knew it was a matter of staying fair. The wind was blowing it a little bit but it finally hit fair.’’
Creighton then blew the game open in the seventh, sending 11 men to the plate in scoring eighth runs. The Bluejays final four hitters in the inning — Mutcheson, Nick Judkins, Swift and Adams — went double, double, double and triple.
Mutcheson finished with three hits and five RBIs, while Swift drove in four with his three doubles. In three games against Bradley, Swift went 7 of 13 with nine RBIs.
“It’s just good to help the team out,’’ the senior shortstop said. “In my eyes, I haven’t been carrying my weight. It’s nice to get a few things done and take the pressure off some of the other guys. That’s nice.’’
Lost in the late offensive explosion was the solid relief work turned in by reliever Reese McGraw. He entered the game with runners at first and third in the fourth with Creighton down 6-0. He got Bradley’s No. 4 hitter, Brad Kimball, on an infield popup.
He then tacked on three innings of one-hit relief to pick up the win, improving to 5-1.
“I just wanted to get it over to the offense so that we could score,’’ McGraw said. “I knew I had to throw up some zeroes.’’
The victory finished off a 4-0 week for the Bluejays, who improved to 31-10 and stretched their lead in Missouri Valley play to two games over Wichita State, Illinois State and Southern Illinois. Creighton opens a three-game series at Wichita State on Sunday.
The unbeaten week also came seven days after a loss to Southern Illinois closed out a 1-3 stretch in the first four games at the Bluejays’ new home.
“It seemed like everything went wrong for us that first week,’’ McGraw said. “This week, we put things together and it worked out well.’’
NOTES: Creighton has matched the best 41-game start in school history. The 1991 and 2005 teams also opened 31-10. ... Creighton collected 39 hits in the three games against the Braves and scored 33 runs. ... Adams has now reached base safely in 25 straight games. His 2-for-4 game Sunday improved his average to .411.
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