The weather-shortened series between Creighton and Nevada provided each team with a better picture of what it is playing for in the closing weeks of the season.

The Bluejays lost the first two games before Sunday's contest was canceled because of the weather. The two losses against a top-50 RPI team all but eliminated Creighton's slim chances of being in the discussion for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

Now, the Bluejays know they're going to have to win the Big East tournament at TD Ameritrade Park if they want to reach the postseason.

"A week or so ago, there was an at-large opportunity, but because of our failure to play well, we know what we have to do now," coach Ed Servais said. "We'll get things lined up and we'll try to work on some of these things we're not doing very well right now in preparation for the tournament."

For Nevada, the games reinforced the Wolf Pack's desire to return to Omaha in a month.

"We all know what we've been working for," said Christian Stolo, Saturday's winning pitcher. "But to be here and see this type of environment, it definitely has given us some more motivation."

Nevada has never played in the College World Series, but the No. 22 Wolf Pack are contenders. The two wins at TD Ameritrade raised Nevada's record to 40-12, with 19 victories on the road, tied for the most road wins in the nation.

Nevada began play Friday leading the nation in runs and ranked in the top 10 in batting average, doubles and home runs.

Jay Johnson, in his second season as Wolf Pack coach, knows his team's offensive abilities overshadow what he feels is a well-rounded team. Nevada had hit 52 homers but didn't come close to getting a ball out of TD Ameritrade. Its relentlessness on offense did pressure Creighton in both games, and the Wolf Pack didn't make an error in 5-4 and 4-0 victories.

"We want to be able to do whatever we have to do to win any kind of game," Johnson said. "Coming in here, we knew our power numbers weren't going to play, so our ability to throw strikes and limit free bases and play great defense and to hit the ball hard and low was going to be important."

The Bluejays (27-16) close the regular season with a game Tuesday against Arkansas and a three-game series against Villanova that begins Thursday. Regardless of how the Bluejays fare against the Wildcats, CU will not repeat as Big East regular-season champ. St. John's finished a sweep of Xavier on Sunday to clinch the title and the No. 1 seed in the May 21 through 24 conference tournament.

Creighton, 10-4 in league play, will be the No. 2 seed for the four-team, double-elimination tournament.

"We know we just have to win, and we know we need to play better," Creighton first baseman Reagan Fowler said. "We're pitching pretty well but we need to offensively grind out some innings."

Contact the writer:

402-679-2298, steve.pivovar@owh.com

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