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.
A brief look at Creighton baseball since 2010
Final game: Loss to Xavier in the Big East tournament Record: 24-15
Notable facts: Season shortened due to COVID-19
Final game: Regular-season loss to Minnesota Record: 5-10
Notable facts: Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Final game: NCAA Corvallis Regional loss to Michigan Record: 41-13 MLB draft: Will Robertson (4th round, 117 overall, Toronto Blue Jays), Isaac Collins (9th round, 279 overall, Colorado Rockies), Jake Holton (10th round, 292 overall, Detroit Tigers), Mitch Ragan (15th round, 448 overall, New York Mets), Jack Strunc (25th round, 741 overall, Miami Marlins), Denson Hull (28th round, 842 overall, Arizona Diamondbacks)
Notable facts: First Creighton team to win Big East regular reason and tournament titles
Final game: Regular-season loss to California Record: 34-16
MLB draft: Michael Emodi (11th round, 332 overall, Kansas City Royals), Ryan Tapani (21st round, 641 overall, Washington Nationals), Jacob Voss (27th round, 811 overall, Los Angeles Angels), Clark Brinkman (32nd round, 945 overall, Detroit Tigers)
Final game: Loss to St. John's in Big East tournament Record: 24-25 MLB draft: Rollie Lacy (11th round, 345 overall, Chicago Cubs), David Gerber (29th round, 873 overall, Seattle Mariners)
Notable facts: Won Big East regular season title
Final game: Loss to Xavier in Big East tournament championship Record: 38-17 MLB draft: Nicky Lopez (5th round, 163 overall, Kansas City Royals), Danny Woodrow (12th round, 355 overall, Detroit Tigers), Nick Highberger (30th round, 892 overall, Oakland Athletics)
Notable facts: Big East tournament runner-up
Final game: Loss to St. John's in Big East tournament championship Record: 27-14
Notable facts: Big East tournament runner-up
Final game: Loss to Xavier in Big East tournament championship Record: 32-17-1 MLB draft: Jake Peter (7th round, 198 overall, Chicago White Sox), Mike Gerber (15th round, 460 overall, Detroit Tigers), Bryan Sova (25th round, 742 overall, Philadelphia Phillies)
Notable facts: First year in the Big East, won the Big East regular season title, runner-up in the Big East tournament
Final game: Missouri Valley Conference tournament loss to Wichita State Record: 30-18 MLB draft: Federico Castagnini (30th round, 909 overall, Baltimore Orioles)
Notable facts: Final season in the Missouri Valley Conference
Final game: NCAA Los Angeles Regional loss to UCLA Record: 28-30 MLB draft: Ty Blach (5th round, 178 overall, San Francisco Giants), Anthony Bemboom (22nd round, 687 overall, Los Angeles Angels)
Notable facts: Creighton finished last in the Big East regular season but won the Missouri Valley tournament to reach the NCAA tournament
Final game: NCAA Corvallis Regional loss to Georgia Record: 45-16 MLB draft: Jonas Dufek (9th round, 280 overall, Houston Astros), Trever Adams (16th round, 504 overall, Texas Rangers)
Notable facts: First Creighton team to win the Missouri Valley Conference's regular season and tournament title in the same season, moved to TD Ameritrade Park
Final game: Loss to Indiana State at Missouri Valley tournament Record: 27-25
MLB draft: Elliot Soto (15th round, 460 overall, Chicago Cubs), Carson Vitale (38th round, 1,156 overall, Texas Rangers)