LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Creighton (5-4) completed its sweep of the UALR baseball team with an 8-4 win on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field. The Trojans (7-6) managed just six hits in the loss, four of which came during a four-run fourth inning.
Three Creighton relievers worked the final 5.2 innings, allowing just two hits and a walk to the Trojans. Darin Ruf went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs in the win, while Steve Winkelmann drove in a team-high three runs despite going hitless in the game.
The Bluejays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after junior Nathan Parker (1-2) opened the game by issuing three-straight free passes. With the bags full and nobody out, Ruf made the Trojans pay with a two-run double down the left field line. Parker settled down after the double by Ruf and struck out the next three batters he faced to prevent Creighton from tacking on any more runs.
Creighton extended its lead to 3-0 in the top of the third after its first two batters reached base to start the frame. With Chris Gradoville on second and Ruf on first, Andrew Small moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Ruf then scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center by Winkelmann.
Bluejay starter Casey Schmidt was perfect through the first three innings, retiring the first nine hitters he faced in order, but ran into trouble in the fourth after junior Nick DeSanctis reached on a fielding error by Urzendowski. Senior Brian Smiley followed with the Trojans first hit of the game, a single to right center which scored DeSanctis from second. Junior Osvaldo Torres followed with his fourth home run of the year, a two-run blast to left to tie the game at 3-all. Senior Ryan Gotcher capped off the rally two batters later with his first home run of the year, a solo shot to right to give UALR a 4-3 lead.
Creighton reclaimed the lead for good by plating three runs in the top of the fifth. Parker opened the frame by hitting Gradoville with a pitch, then surrendered a single to Ruf. Freshman Ashur Tolliver came on in relief and struck out the first batter he faced, but Small followed with a two-run triple to right center to give Creighton a 5-4 lead. Winkelmann followed with his second sacrifice of the game, scoring Small with a fly ball to right.
The Bluejays tacked on a pair of insurance runs off Tolliver in the ninth after loading the bases with one out off a pair of singles and an intentional walk. Winkelman plated the first run by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Junior Derik Drewett came on in relief of Tolliver with the bags full and one out. Chad Ogden made it an 8-4 contest with a sacrifice fly, but the Trojans were able to end the inning by turning a double play, nailing Winkelman as he tried to take second.
Dan Stanley (1-0) threw 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of Schmidt. Scott Reese followed with 3.0 shutout innings, with Andy Masten closing out the game with a scoreless ninth. Parker took the loss for UALR after allowing four hits, four walks and five runs with six strikeouts over 4.0 innings.
UALR returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Central Arkansas at 4 p.m. The game will be the Trojans’ final warm up before Sun Belt Conference play begins next weekend at Louisiana-Monroe.