Missouri State lost leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 5-3 and was plagued by mistakes defensively from the fifth inning on Thursday, losing to Creighton 6-5 at the State Farm MVC Tournament at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Bluejays (42-14) survived their second elimination game of the day and forced a winner-take-all contest with the Bears (33-22) at 4 p.m. Friday for the right to play the Indiana State/Wichita State winner in the title game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Aaron Conway led off the bottom of the first with a single and stole second to tie Dant’e Brinkley’s career stolen base record at 69 before Brent Seifert smacked a two-run double to put the Bears ahead 2-0.
Creighton took advantage of a bad hop in front of second base to score in the second and the Bears answered when a throwing error by CU third baseman Chance Ross allowed Spiker Helms to score for a 3-1 score.
The Bluejays tied the game again in the fifth, getting an RBI single from Gabriel Thibodeaux that included a throwing error from Helms in right to get two runs after loading the bases with nobody out.
The Bears again responded to regain a two-run lead, this time with another Seifert RBI double that ended starter Brandon Koenigstein’s day before Travis McComack knocked a sacrifice fly. Missouri State managed just two hits off three CU relievers for the remainder of the game.
Creighton cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth, with Alex Staehely reaching on a strikeout in the dirt that Luke Voit threw down the right field line and eventually scoring on two more MSU errors on a potential 3-6-3 double play.
The Jays capitalized on yet another miscue in the seventh after Pierce Johnson’s inning-ending strikeout tipped off Voit’s glove and let Nick Judkins in from third.
Missouri State stranded runners on second and third in the seventh and Creighton took a 6-5 lead on a sacrifice fly caught in foul territory in the eighth.
Then in the ninth, Missouri State loaded the bases with one out, but Seifert popped out to first and McComack flied out to left as CU’s Kurt Spomer held on for his 12th save.
Johnson (6-5) fanned five against three hits and one earned run, while Clay Murphy struck out seven in 5.1 innings in a no decision.