• Box Score: Nebraska 4, Creighton 1
• Photo Showcase: Nebraska vs. Creighton, April 24
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Nebraska’s not used to playing in low-scoring grinders, requiring quality pitching and timely offense, but the Huskers did just enough in Tuesday’s pressure-filled moments to earn a win over their rival.
Eight NU pitchers combined to limit Creighton’s struggling offense to three hits. They held Nebraska’s early lead and kept the Bluejays from capitalizing on a few of the Huskers’ missed scoring opportunities.
Junior Rich Sanguinetti hit a lead-extending, two-out single in the eighth, which led to two runs and effectively sealed a 4-1 win before 9,684 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.
“We needed a big hit,” Sanguinetti said. “I had a chance earlier in the game and didn’t come through, so I really wanted to make up for that.”
He wasn’t the only Husker who missed on opportunities to put Creighton away Tuesday.
Nebraska (27-15) ended the night 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position, though eight of those at-bats came with two outs. Twice the Huskers loaded the bases with two outs, and they stranded a total of 12 runners.
But NU took a 1-0 lead on Richard Stock’s first-inning triple with two outs. Freshman Blake Headley had an RBI single in the second.
And with runners on first and third in a 2-1 game in the eighth, Sanguinetti laced a two-out single to right field, scoring freshman Pat Kelly. Creighton shortstop Alex Staehely bobbled a cutoff attempt and couldn’t locate the baseball in time to throw out sophomore Michael Pritchard, who scored to increase Nebraska’s lead to 4-1.
That proved to be enough against Creighton (15-21), which has now lost four straight and the first two in a three-game season series against the Huskers. NU won the first meeting 5-3 on April 10 in Lincoln.
“It’s disappointing we couldn’t get the clutch hits that you need to win games like this,” Creighton right fielder Anthony Bemboom said. “You can’t win them all 1-0. We didn’t get the clutch hits and they did, and that’s pretty much it.”
Bemboom, a senior, was responsible for the Bluejays’ lone RBI. He hit a two-out double in the sixth, which scored sophomore Brad McKewon and cut NU’s lead to 2-1.
Four Nebraska relievers had combined to retire 13 straight Creighton hitters before that. Junior right-hander Ryan Hander started his first career game, allowing one hit and striking out three over two innings.
NU pitchers finished the game with nine strikeouts, nullifying the recent improvement Creighton coach Ed Servais had seen from his lineup.
“We swung at a lot of pitches that weren’t strikes,” Servais said. “That means we have anxious hitters, hitters not seeing the ball very well.”
The Bluejays came into the game batting .238 as a team, but they recorded a combined 17 hits and scored 11 total times in two one-run losses to Southern Illinois last weekend.
Nebraska’s pitching staff had allowed an average of seven runs per game over its last six contests before Tuesday. But the Huskers were effective enough to earn the win, their fifth in 18 games this year when they’ve scored five or fewer runs.
“I thought we did a very nice job of keeping our composure and getting the job done,” NU coach Darin Erstad said.
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