Oklahoma State stayed hot Sunday against Creighton because the Cowboys took care of business with runners on base.
The Bluejays couldn't run their winning streak to seven partly because they didn't.
Oklahoma State wrapped up an unbeaten weekend at TD Ameritrade Park with a 6-5 win against the Bluejays. Six of the Cowboys' 11 hits came with runners in scoring position, an area that Creighton has struggled in all season.
“Tonight we had a few big hits, but one of our weaknesses all year has been leaving guys on base,” Bluejay second baseman Jake Peter said. “That's definitely something we need to get fixed.”
Peter had one of Creighton's three hits with runners in scoring position, and his two-out, two-run double forged a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning. But the Cowboys bounced right back, scoring an unearned run in the ninth to run their winning streak to five and improve to 32-11.
“It was tough seeing them come back and tie it,” said Oklahoma State second baseman Donnie Walton, who drove in the winning run with a double. “We just had to find a way to get the energy that we had in the first inning and get things done.”
OSU got three hits in the opening inning in taking a 1-0 lead, then tied the game with two runs in the fifth — Walton producing one with a two-out single. The Cowboys scored two more runs in the eighth on a bad-hop, two-out single by Victor Romero and Zach Fish's double.
Peter's double in the Creighton half of the eighth tied the game before the Cowboys put together one last rally. Rick Stover opened the ninth by reaching first base on Creighton shortstop Alex Staehely's fielding error.
A sacrifice moved pinch-runner Jarrett Higgins to second and a wild pitch advanced him to third. Walton brought home the decisive run by driving a 3-2 pitch from Mark Lukowski (4-2) into the right-center-field gap.
“I got a fastball middle-in and down,” Walton said. “That's a pitch I like.”
Oklahoma State finished 6 of 12 with runners in scoring position. Creighton was 3 of 15 in similar situations as the Bluejays left 11 runners on base.
Creighton stranded 35 runners in its three TD Ameritrade Classic games. The Bluejays have left 327 runners this season, an average of 9.6 per game in their 24-10 season. Creighton is hitting .283 with runners in scoring position.
“We left seven runners on in the first three innings,” Creighton coach Ed Servais said. “Everyone will look at the ninth inning and how we gave up that run, but maybe we should have one or two more early on.
“It's just a matter of our hitters becoming a little more comfortable in those situations. It's a challenge hitting with runners in scoring position, and that's where your veteran players really have to step up.”
Peter did in the eighth when the sophomore laced a pitch from closer Brendan McCurry down the right-field line for his two-run double. In his previous two at-bats, Peter had struck out with runners at second and third in the fourth and with a runner at third in the sixth.
“I was a little tentative in those two at-bats,” Peter said. “I just told myself to forget them and go up to the plate and be aggressive. I was looking for a fastball and that's what he gave me. I put a good swing on it.”
Creighton wiped out the 1-0 lead Oklahoma State took in the first by scoring twice in the second on Federico Castagnini's single. The Bluejays left the bases loaded in that inning, and stranded two runners in each of the first and third innings.
“Early in the game, it's important to get it done,” Castagnini said. “With our defense, if we can get five or six spots (runs), we feel pretty comfortable.”
» Notes: Creighton center fielder Mike Gerber made an appearance at the ballpark two days after undergoing an appendectomy. “It was great seeing Mike today,” Servais said. “His teammates really appreciated that he came out here in a lot of pain to support them.” Servais said Gerber will miss at least the next four games and is scheduled to revisit his doctor in a week. … Bluejay starter Austin Groth gave up singles to three of the first five batters he faced, then retired 10 straight before leaving after issuing back-to-back walks to open the fifth.
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