The plan for Creighton right-hander Brett Swain going into Sunday's series finale with Pacific was to cap his start after two innings.
With only two innings under the junior transfer's belt so far this season, Bluejay coach Ed Servais decided to gradually build up Swain's arm strength.
What Servais got instead was Swain retiring 10 straight batters after he allowed a single to the game's leadoff hitter. Swain turned the ball over to the bullpen to close out a 5-2 Creighton win in front of 788 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.
Four CU relievers scattered two hits in the final 523 innings, including a three-inning stint by Mark Winkelman in which he surrendered one unearned run and got the win to improve to 2-0.
After retiring the 10 straight, Swain started to tire in the fourth as he allowed a pair of hits and a walk. Servais was quick to pull the plug on the Omaha Skutt graduate's day, but Servais said he got more out of Swain than he expected.
“He hadn't pitched much,” Servais said. “It was only his second time out there so you have to give him a lot of credit for getting us in the game.
“We probably tried to stretch him out a little too far, and he kind of hit the wall in the fourth inning.”
Swain wasn't surprised to see Servais make the call to the bullpen.
“I got my first start on Tuesday, and we're just building up right now, so it wasn't a big thing to get pulled,” Swain said.
Behind Swain, Creighton never trailed Sunday.
The Bluejays scored in the opening inning when Brad McKewon reached on a throwing error by third baseman Curtis Gomez and took second base on Federico Castagnini's sacrifice bunt.
McKewon advanced to third on Jake Peter's single to left field, his ninth hit in 11 at-bats in the series. Peter leads the team with a .433 average after getting 17 hits in his last 31 at-bats (.548). He went 1 for 3 with an intentional walk Sunday.
Mike Gerber then laid down another bunt, getting McKewon home for a 1-0 Creighton lead.
The Bluejays benefitted again from a throwing error when Reagan Fowler and Ryan Fitzgerald teamed up on a double steal of second and third in the second.
Catcher Jason Taasaas' throw sailed into center field, and Fowler trotted home to put Creighton up 2-0 on two unearned runs.
Pacific cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth on an RBI single.
Taylor Elman replaced Swain and inherited runners on first and second with one out, but he was able to get Taasaas to ground into an inning-ending double play on his third pitch.
The Bluejays came right back in the bottom of the inning as Brennan Murphy's RBI triple scored Fowler, who reached base on a single.
The triple was the only extra-base hit by either team.
Michael Benson then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Murphy to give CU a 4-1 advantage. Benson (2-1) was tagged with the loss.
Pacific started to gain momentum in the seventh inning as Taylor Murphy's one-out single to right field scored Taasaas, who reached on an Alex Staehely fielding error to trim the lead to 4-2.
With runners on first and second and one out, Winkelman got pinch-hitter Jacob Goulder to line out to right fielder Brennan Murphy, who gunned the ball to Staehely at second to double-off the runner.
Creighton added an insurance run in the eighth when Kevin Lamb skied a sacrifice fly to right that scored Fowler as Creighton won the rubber match of the three-game series.
The Bluejays (10-4) host South Dakota State at 4 p.m. Wednesday at TD Ameritrade Park before beginning Missouri Valley Conference play on Friday at Evansville.
Pacific (6-12) ........................... 000 100 100—2 5 2
At Creighton (10-4) ........................... 110 200 10x—5 8 1
W: Winkelman, 2-0. L: Benson, 2-1. SV: Peter (2). 3B: CU, Murphy (1).
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