CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Creighton rode strong pitching from Tommy Strunc, Nick Highberger and Mark Winkelman on Friday to take the first game of the Riverview Inn Classic, 4-2 over Arkansas-Little Rock.
The right-handed Strunc struck out a season-best eight over five innings for his second win of the season.
Highberger and Winkelman pitched in relief over the final four innings for the Jays (5-2), allowing just one hit. Winkelman struck out one batter to pick up his first save of the season.
With CU down 1-0 to open the bottom of the third inning, senior Jordan Makovicka was hit by a pitch. He moved to third base on two wild pitches and was brought home on a two-out single up the middle by Federico Castagnini. Junior Mike Gerber laced an RBI double to right field to bring home Castagnini later in the inning for a 2-1 Bluejay lead.
Arkansas-Little Rock would tie the game at two in the top of the fourth before Creighton would again take the lead during the next half inning. Kevin Lamb hit a sacrifice fly to score first baseman Reagan Fowler.
The Bluejays added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Fowler plated Castagnini with another sacrifice fly. The 4-2 lead proved to be enough for Highberger and Winkelman the rest of the way.
Right-hander Nick Musec is Creighton's likely starter Saturday against tournament host Austin Peay at 3:30 p.m.
Arkansas-Little Rock (9-5) ........... 100 100 000—2
At Creighton (5-2) ......................... 002 110 00x—4
W: Strunc 2-0. L: Cleveland 2-2. 2B: ALR, Burk. CU, Gerber, Makovicka.