OMAHA, Neb. — Thomas Luevano hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and David Gerber nailed down his school-record 25th career save as Creighton Baseball earned a 7-5 victory over Nebraska-Omaha before 1,215 fans at Werner Park on Tuesday, May 9th.
Creighton improved to 22-18 with the victory, while UNO dropped to 12-33. It is the only meeting of the 2017 season between the city rivals.
Luevano’s homer was his season-high fourth hit of the game, and continued a trend of late inning home runs for the Bluejays. Each of its last three wins have come courtesy of ninth inning home runs, including a dingers in wins last weekend by Michael Emodi Isaac Collins at Seton Hall.
Creighton wasted no time in getting on the board in the top of the first inning. Luevano doubled into the right field corner with one out and later came around to score on a two-out single from Will Robertson.
The Bluejays tacked on two more runs in the third inning. Isaac Collins walked with one away and moved into scoring position on a single by Luevano. He would come home on a single through the left side off the bat of Emodi to make it 2-0, and Luevano then scored on a sacrifice fly by Robertson.
UNO answered Creighton’s output with two of its own in the home half of the third inning. A leadoff walk to Adam Caniglia preceded a bloop double by Sam Palensky that fell between a pair of Bluejay outfielders. Cole Thibodeau brought home Caniglia with a squeeze bunt, and Ryan Cate drove home Palensky on an RBI groundout.
Creighton tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, as Robertson continued his big night with a home run off the foul pole in right field, which also brought home Emodi, and made it 5-2
The Mavericks closed the deficit to 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning against Bluejay reliever Houston Glad. Singles by Cate and Grant Suponchick started the frame and both men moved up a base on a balk. A passed ball then scored Cate, and Suponchick came home on an RBI groundout from Marcus Ethen.
The Mavericks tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Caniglia coaxed a one-out walk and moved to second on a Palensky single to right. A walk to Thibodeau loaded the bags, and Caniglia jogged home on a sacrifice fly by Cate.
UNO’s 11th pitcher of the game, James Smith, came on in the ninth inning and would suffer the loss. Parker Upton reached on an infield single to start the ninth and was bunted to second by Nicholas Ortega. After a strikeout, Luevano hit his fourth home run of the year to provide his fifth game-winning RBI of the spring.
The Bluejays turned to Gerber in the ninth inning, and the senior delivered in record-setting fashion.
Creighton opens a five-game homestand on Wednesday night when it hosts Nebraska in a game scheduled for 7:00 pm at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.