After surrendering a combined 15 runs in the previous two losses to Creighton, University of Nebraska at Omaha hurlers Tyler Fox and Josh Bullock proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
Fox pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs, and Bullock finished by shutting out the Bluejays (14-6) in the final three innings on two hits to get the save in the Mavericks’ 4-2 win Sunday in front of 2,076 at TD Ameritrade Park.
Fox said UNO’s defense, which committed four errors Saturday in an 11-4 loss, helped his cause with just one defensive gaffe.
“We fielded the ball a lot better, and that was good to have behind me,” Fox said. “A lot of defense, so it just felt good. We walked a lot of guys yesterday and the day before. So I was just trying to get ahead and throw strikes and make them hit the ball and get out.”
Mavs’ coach Bob Herold said he was happy to salvage the final game of the three-game series.
“The tables turned just a little bit,” Herold. “We defended better. Our guy pitched, threw strikes, didn’t walk a bunch of fellas, and that gave us a chance to get the momentum and get ahead.”
UNO (6-14) opened the scoring in the first inning, loading the bases with one out against Creighton starter Matt Warren on singles by Alex Mortensen and Clayton Taylor and a walk to Ryan Keele.
Tyler Splichal followed by hitting a sharp groundball to third baseman Ryan Fitzgerald, who started what could have been an inning-ending double play. But CU’s Cody Kottich was called for catcher’s interference, forcing home a run to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead.
UNO extended the lead to 2-0 on a solo shot over the right-field wall in the third inning, the first homer at TD Ameritrade Park this season.
Despite the series win, Creighton starting pitchers struggled all weekend and had to rely on the bullpen.
Three Bluejays starters combined to allow eight runs in 1013 innings while the bullpen gave up three runs in 1623 innings.
Creighton coach Ed Servais said he has no plans to bring his relievers in to start in the near future.
“I think they’re best served in the bullpen,” Servais said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with the rotation.”
The Bluejays (14-6) tied it at 2 in the third inning, using a leadoff single by Jordan Makovicka and a Fitzgerald double to ignite the rally.
UNO cashed in a leadoff walk to Caleb Palensky in the fourth inning to regain its lead at 3-2.
Palensky was sacrificed to second by Brett Bass, advanced to third on a Mortensen single and scored on wild pitch by Brett Swain, who relieved Warren.
Warren (1-1) left having allowed five hits and two walks. He was charged with three runs, two earned, in 313 innings.
The Bluejays had the tying runner at the plate in the ninth after Fowler led off with a single to right-center.
But Bullock was able to get Makovicka to ground into a double play, then force a flyout from Fitzgerald to end it.
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