PROVO, Utah – Following a series-opening win, No. 20 BYU baseball dropped a doubleheader against No. 25 Creighton Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.
The Cougars fell to 28-9 with losses of 10-2 and 8-5 in the rainy twinbill.
BYU left eight runners on base in the first game and 10 in the second, while Creighton (27-9) displayed its NCAA-leading lowest team ERA.
"We had Albrecht (Jeff, Creighton starting pitcher) on the ropes early and let him off the hook," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "After that, he settled in and we just couldn't muster the offense. We played shabby defense and Creighton made us pay for it. Hayden (Rogers) gave us a decent start, and we didn't help him defensively, but as a pitching staff we need to do a better job of throwing quality strikes and not leaving pitches over the middle of the plate."
In the fourth inning and with two runners in scoring position, Bluejay catcher Michael Emodi hit a grounder near shortstop Hayden Nielsen that was bobbled to score the runners for the Bluejay 2-1 lead. An RBI-single for Creighton capped the 3-1 lead over the Cougars going into the bottom of the frame.
With runners at first and third, Jackson Cluff sacrificed to deep right to score Urry from third to put the Cougars within one, 3-2.
In the top of the sixth, Emodi homered past the center-field wall. His two-run home run put the Bluejays ahead by three runs, 5-2.
Midway through the sixth, Keaton Cenatiempo took the mound in relief for the Cougars. Creighton scored another run for the 6-2 advantage.
The Bluejays had the game in hand with one more run in the eighth and three more in the ninth for the eventual 10-2 final score.
Hayden Rogers pitched 6.1 innings for the Cougars. He gave up nine hits and five runs. With the loss he falls to 4-1 on the season.
BYU put pressure on the Bluejay starting pitcher Keith Rogalla, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Nate Favero sacrificed to center, scoring Shaver for the lone run of the frame for the Cougars and the 5-3 tally.
Creighton responded with only one run in the seventh after an inning-ending double-play neutralized the Bluejay offensive threat with runners on second and third. The batter lined a 1-1 pitch to Favero at first, who then threw to third to double off the runner.
Facing a 6-3 deficit, BYU attempted to string together the equalizing rally. Nielsen dropped a single into center for the RBI, scoring second baseman Daniel Schneemann from second to make the game 6-4. Another single put Tanner Chauncey on first, but a fly out and groundout ended the at-bat for the Cougars.
BYU threatened again in the bottom of the eighth. Cluff was beaned to reach first, and Schneemann’s first extra-base hit of the season advanced runners to second and third. Lund grounded out to second base as the scored stayed 6-4.
The Bluejays tacked on two runs with a pair of two-out RBI doubles down the right-field line to lead 8-4 in the ninth.
BYU came back in the bottom of the ninth with another rally attempt, but only one run scored as one was left on base. Seven Cougar baserunners were left on through the final four innings.
"Creighton did a great job of putting continuous pressure on us," Littlewood said. " It's like we were on our heels all night. We had ample opportunities to tie the game and even go ahead, but they made pitches when they had to.We need to find the passion for the game we had a few weeks ago and finish strong."
Nielsen had the first run of the game on his second home run of the season, going 3 for 5 at the plate with two RBI. Keaton Kringlen’s sacrifice fly accounted for the second BYU run. Schneemann extended his hitting streak to four games with his 2-for-3 outing in the second game. Pitcher Jordan Wood took the loss (0-1), going three innings while giving up three earned.
The Cougars face Utah Valley University on Tuesday at 6 p.m. MDT at Brent Brown Ballpark. The game will be available on BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143. Conference play resumes for BYU as it hosts Gonzaga next weekend.