No. 1 CREIGHTON 4, No. 8 BRADLEY 1
CU (40-13); BU (22-31)
OMAHA, Neb. - Michael Mutcheson went 2-for-2 with a homer and scored three times to help top-seeded Creighton to a 4-1 victory over Bradley. It marks the third different 40-win season under Ed Servais for Creighton, and seventh overall in program history.
The game, postponed from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning due to rain, moves Creighton (40-13) into a winners bracket game against Missouri State later on Wednesday in a game scheduled for 7:30 pm. Creighton will be the home team in that contest. Bradley (22-31) will be the home team in its scheduled 12:30 pm elimination game against Southern Illinois.
Creighton drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning against Omaha native Joe Bircher, Bradley's top starter. Mutcheson singled through the left side to start the game. Nick Judkins followed with a bunt back to Bircher, but his throw was not handled by by shortstop Jason Leblebijian and both men were safe. Jimmy Swift followed with a bunt to advance both runners, and both men advanced another 90 feet on Bircher's balk to hand the Jays a 1-0 lead. Judkins scored one pitch later on Trever Adams RBI groundout to short.
Creighton starter Dufek (10-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third inning. After he walked Mike Tacuhman to load the bases with two away, Brad Kimball's line drive was hauled down on a diving catch from left-fielder Anthony Bemboom, preserving Creighton's lead.
The Jays added a third run in the bottom of the third frame. With one away, Mutcheson and Judkins both walked. Mutcheson tagged up on Swift's long fly ball out to center, and scored on Adams' two-out single to left.
Bradley cut into the deficit in the fifth inning with a two-out rally. Rob Elliott's bloop single started things, and he moved to second on Tauchman's four-pitch walk. Elliott then scampered home when Kimball singled to left. Dufek escaped further trouble when Greg Partyka grounded out to first to end the top of the fifth.
Mutcheson added an insurance run in the seventh, when he turned around Bircher's 101st offering of the day for his second homer of the season. Bircher eventually worked out of a bases-loaded jam to end the seventh, ending his day after 129 pitches.
Dufek worked through rain to allow just six hits and one run in eight innings of work, and is now 10-1 this year. He also lowered his season ERA to 2.23, tops in the MVC. Kurt Spomer threw a perfect ninth inning to earn his 11th save of the season. Creighton had just five hits, but Mutcheson had two of them and scored three times. Adams was 1-for-2 with two walks and two RBI, evening his batting average to exactly .400 on the year.
Bircher was tagged with the loss, falling to 6-6. The Omaha native allowed five hits and four runs (two earned) in seven innings of work, striking out five men. The Braves had one hit each from the top five men in the order, as well as eighth-place hitter Josh Camalick.