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BASEBALL

Creighton baseball falls to Xavier, now one game back in Big East title race

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CINCINNATI — Creighton fell off the pace in the Big East title race, but the Bluejays don't have to wait long for another chance to vault to the top of the conference.

After falling 9-3 at Xavier on Sunday, CU will visit league leader Connecticut for a three-game series beginning Friday that will go a long way toward determining the regular-season title. The Huskies (37-8, 11-1) finished a three-game sweep of Butler on Sunday to take a one-game lead in the Big East over the Jays (25-12, 10-2), who entered the day tied for first.

Creighton jumped on Xavier early, opening the game with singles from Andrew Meggs and Kyle Hess and an RBI double from Alan Roden. A walk loaded the bases for the Jays with no outs, but they plated one more run in the inning when Chris Esposito was hit by a pitch with the bases full.

Musketeer starter Luke Bell settled in after that, allowing one more hit before giving way to the bullpen in the fourth inning.

CU starter Cade Lommel allowed a run in the first but mostly cruised through the first three innings. But Xavier broke through in the fourth.

Lommel retired the first two batters in the inning, but two walks and a single loaded the bases for Jerry Huntzinger, who hit a grand slam to give the Musketeers a 5-2 lead.

Xavier added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Hess hit an RBI double in the seventh to cut Creighton's deficit to 8-3, but reliever Jack Lynch allowed one more hit in the final two innings.

Meggs, Hess and Roden — the top three hitters in CU's order — combined for six hits while the rest of the lineup combined to go 1 of 19.

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