Creighton coach Ed Servais couldn't ask for a better time for another weapon to emerge from his pitching staff.
Making his fifth start of the season, Matt Warren allowed one hit and one unearned run through 7 2⁄3 innings to a South Dakota State lineup that entered the game hitting .290 as the Bluejays won 7-1 in front of 2,694 at TD Ameritrade Park.
The freshman from Omaha Skutt was coming off one of the better relief appearances of the year as he gave up two hits and one unearned run in 4 2⁄3 innings at Illinois State on Friday.
With six league games remaining before the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, including a series with first-place Wichita State this weekend, Servais said it was important to see another reliable arm surface.
“This is the kind of stuff we're going to need in that conference tournament if we expect to go through it and play until Saturday,” Servais said. “You've got to have more than one or two pitchers, and you can't use your bullpen every day.”
Through seven innings, Warren allowed one hit and a walk while striking out two with his team enjoying a 4-0 cushion.
He opened the eighth by getting Nick Andrews and Jordan Varga to ground out, but after walking the next two batters, Servais decided the righty had enough after 96 pitches.
Warren said that despite the back-to-back walks, he felt he still had good stuff when he left the game.
“I actually had a lot left in me,” Warren said. “I just hadn't thrown out of the stretch for a while. I just got a little wild.”
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Creighton opened the scoring in the first inning when Federico Castagnini singled and then advanced to third on a hit by Alex Staehely. He scored on a Shane Kraemer wild pitch to give the Bluejays a 1-0 lead.
Creighton made it 2-0 in the second when Tommy Clouthier, making his third start of the season, singled home Brennan Murphy.
Clouthier's first hit as a Bluejay came Sunday, a three-run double in the 11th inning of a 9-4 win against the Redbirds.
Creighton stretched its lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning on a two-out rally started by Reagan Fowler's single up the middle.
Fowler advanced to second on a walk to Michael Blatchford and then scored when Murphy drove the first pitch he saw from reliever Aaron Klatt into center field.
A sacrifice fly by Jake Peter in the sixth that plated Clouthier widened the lead to 4-0.
Despite the RBI, Peter saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end as he finished 0 for 4.
The Bluejays broke the game open in the eighth when Castagnini belted a two-run double that scored Brad McKewon and Kevin Lamb to put CU up 6-1.
Creighton improved to 26-13 and will play at rival Wichita State this weekend for the last time as a conference opponent with the Bluejays' move to the new Big East next season.
Servais said he will miss the rivalry with the Shockers.
“I love to play them because there is a lot of intensity involved in the games, and I think that's what's exciting about college baseball,” Servais said. “I hope even after this year is over with that we somehow can continue it because it's a special deal.”
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