WICHITA, Kan. — Creighton had done it only once since 1980, and this would be its last chance.
And the Bluejays did it against a Wichita State team leading the Missouri Valley Conference — and in a place where the Shockers were 66-24-1 entering play Saturday.
Some timely hitting gave two Creighton pitchers all the offense they’d need to hand the Shockers a 3-1 loss at Eck Stadium, giving the Bluejays the first two games of the three-game set and their second series victory at Wichita in 33 years. The last time Creighton won a road series against Wichita State was 2003.
Leaving for the new Big East, Creighton will get a chance to do something it’s never done since becoming a continuous Valley member in 1977 — sweep the Shockers on their home field.
That’s no easy task. Even with the last two wins, including a 6-5 decision Friday, the Bluejays are 5-10 in regular-season games at Eck Stadium under coach Ed Servais.
Coming into the series, Wichita State led the Valley and Creighton was fourth. Now, the Bluejays (28-13, 11-6 Valley) are third with the Shockers (30-24, 14-6) battling Illinois State (32-18, 12-5) for first.
On Saturday, both pitchers started strong. Wichita State’s A.J. Ladwig retired 10 straight from the second to the fifth inning while CU senior Nick Musec didn’t allow a hit until the fifth.
Ladwig (4-5), a sophomore out of Millard West, struck out a career-high seven while allowing three runs — two earned — on five hits and two walks in 5 2⁄3 innings.
Musec (2-5) held the Shockers to one run on two hits and six walks in five innings to earn the win.
His team gave him a 1-0 lead in the fifth on an unearned run. With two down, Jerry Mitchell lined a single to left-center. Then Brad McKewon, a junior out of Millard South, moved him to third with a single to right-center. Federico Castagnini grounded a ball to short that was misplayed, allowing Mitchell to score.
The Bluejays made it 3-0 in the sixth inning with back-to-back RBI singles from pinch hitter Landon Lucansky and Mitchell.
In the bottom of the sixth, Musec was chased after a leadoff walk and a double by Casey Gillaspie, a sophomore from Millard North. Creighton sophomore Mark Lukowski limited the damage, though.
With runners on second and third, the reliever struck out the first batter. Erik Harbutz’s sacrifice fly made it 3-1, but a groundout ended the threat.
Lukowski, a sophomore out of Papillion-La Vista South, went the final four innings to earn his first save. He allowed two hits and struck out three without a walk.
Mitchell paced the Bluejay offense. The catcher finished 2 of 4 with an RBI and a run hitting from the No. 9 spot.
The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Creighton will send right-hander Austin Groth, a freshman from South Sioux City, to face sophomore Garrett Brummett.