Nebraska Baseball: Creighton Defeats Huskers 5-3

Michael Pritchard's sacrifice bunt drove in Nebraska's first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning. - Mike Jaixen

The Huskers couldn't overcome an early Creighton lead as Nebraska's RPI drops to #39.

Nebraska tried to rally late, but never could get overcome Creighton's early lead as the Bluejays defeated the Huskers 5-3 on Friday nightat TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

Creighton scored two in the top of the first as shortstop Alex Staehely's double scored Federico Castagnini, then Reagan Fowler drove in Jake Peter to give the Jays the lead.

Bryan Peters led off the bottom of the third inning with a double, and scored on Michael Pritchard's sacrifice bunt to cut the Jays lead to 2-1. Creighton got that run back in the top of the fourth as Michael Blatchford singled in Fowler. Creighton added another run in the top of the seventh on Castagnini's ground ball to second base to go up 4-1.

Nebraska's bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh. Creighton starter Tommy Strunc was pulled after a leadoff walk to Blake Headley, and was relieved by Mark Winkleman, who loaded the bases with nobody out by giving up a walk and a hit. Husker centerfielder Rich Sanguinetti lined a base hit to center field, scoring Headley while leaving the bases loaded. But Pat Kelly grounded into a double play, scoring Taylor Fish to pull to 4-3.

After Luke Bublitz struck out the side in the eighth, Nebraska's Chad Christensen led off with a double, but couldn't advance past third. Dylan Vogt relieved Bublitz in the ninth, and gave up four hits and a run before escaping on a double play. Jake Peter took to the mound to finsh the game to earn his sixth save of the season.

Nebraska starter Christian DeLeion fell to 5-3 on the season. The Huskers will play #24 Oklahoma State in a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 11:05 am at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

Tonight's crowd of 8,395 was a bit of a disappointment considering it was a great evening weather wise. But the Omaha World-Herald's Sam McKewon might have found the reason why.

Ouch. Tickets for this weekend's games start at $20 each, which certainly makes it a pricey ticket. Granted, for that money you are getting multiple games, but it does make it expensive for families to attend. I did note that this game was part of the Creighton season ticket package, which made the game quite a bargain for Jaybackers. Not sure how many attended this game, as it was a sea of Red in Omaha. Perhaps the Creighton fans wore their football Saturday attire tonight. Or they sold their tickets to Husker fans. Either way, I suspect that Husker fans accounted for over 6000 of tonight's attendance.

Tonight's attendance in Omaha should be a cautionary tale to the organizers of the 2014 Big Ten baseball tournament in Omaha. For this year's tournament at Minneapolis' Target Field, all-session tickets are $30, with single game tickets just $10 for adults. (Kids get in for $7.) If that price level is repeated in Omaha next year, the conference tournament should have B1G attendance numbers as Husker fans flock downtown.

With sunny and warm weather expected all weekend in Omaha, organizers of this first TD Ameritrade Classic hope that attendance picks up quite a bit the rest of the weekend. Nebraska needs to bounce back big on Saturday against Oklahoma State, as their RPI hopes took a hit tonight, dropping to #39.

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