Creighton saw its five-game winning streak come to a halt Saturday and lost its slim hold on first place in the Big East, but it wasn’t for a lack of opportunities.
The Bluejays stranded 12 men on base, including leaving the bases loaded twice, as St. John’s handed Creighton a 6-4 loss in front of 7,636 at TD Ameritrade Park.
Creighton coach Ed Servais said he didn’t see much spark from his team, which fell behind 6-1 in the sixth inning.
“I don’t think we played a poor game,” he said. “The only thing I was disappointed with was I think we need to play with more energy, more sense of urgency. We did the last three or four innings. We’ve got to do that for nine.”
The game was originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. but was moved up to 3 because of a threat of rain, making it the 19th time this season that a CU game start had changed because of weather.
The teams started the day planning to play a doubleheader with rain in the forecast for Sunday, but that never came to fruition with rain moving into Omaha on Saturday evening.
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Now, the series finale is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
Servais said changes in start times can play tricks on a team’s mentality.
“We were just flat out of the blocks, and I’m not here to make excuses about the time changes and things like that. I like our team a lot when we play with energy, and today we just didn’t have as much,” he said.
After entering the day with a percentage-point lead over Xavier, the Bluejays fell a full game behind the Musketeers, who handed Villanova a 6-1 defeat Saturday.
But the Jays are tied in the loss column with Xavier and have four Big East games remaining while the Musketeers have one left.
If both teams win out, the Bluejays (30-11, 10-4) will win the regular-season title by a half-game.
Servais said he hasn’t discussed the standings with his team.
“I know they know it. I’m not going to tell you they don’t know that stuff. But I don’t dwell on that. My main focus is ‘How can I get this group to play as well as they can?’
“If we can do that, then everything will take care of itself. Today we didn’t quite do that. So we have to go back and try to make some adjustments and pique their interest a little bit more.”
Leading 2-1, the Red Storm (27-20, 6-8) seemingly broke the game open in the sixth inning after reliever John Sakowski allowed a leadoff single to Mitchell Henshaw and then hit two batters to load the bases with two outs.
Mike Antico and Wyatt Mascarella followed with back-to-back two-run doubles to put St. John’s up 6-1.
Four straight two-out singles netted a pair of runs in the sixth as the Bluejays inched to within 6-3 with two runners on and Will Robertson representing the tying run at the plate.
But Robertson came up just short when his fly ball died on the warning track in right-center to end the threat.
Jake Holton led off the Bluejay seventh with his 15th double of the season, and Parker Upton drove him in with a single to make it 6-4.