June 3, 2012
#4 Creighton 7, #3 New Mexico 2
Around the Regionals
Scores & Schedules
Bruins end Bluejays’ run,
advance to Super Regional
By Abbey Mastracco
LOS ANGELES —
Creighton became an intriguing story line in the NCAA Baseball
Championships over the past few weeks as the College World
Series’ hometown team went from finishing last in the Missouri
Valley Conference regular season standings, to shocking the
Valley by upsetting highly-touted Indiana State to win the
conference tournament, and then playing its way to the finals of
the Los Angeles Regional.
College baseball hasn’t had a Cinderella story
since Fresno State, also a four-seed, made its historic run
through the tournament four years ago, which started just about
20 miles south on the 405 at Long Beach’s Blair Field. The
comparisons were made after Creighton knocked off the No. 2
seed, San Diego, Saturday afternoon, which was the very team the
Bulldogs defeated to win the Long Beach Regional.
But the Bluejays’ run came to a screeching halt
against No. 1 seed and national No. 2 UCLA, on an unseasonably
chilly Sunday evening. In front of a crowd of 1,291 at Jackie
Robinson Stadium, the Jays were routed by the host Bruins, 13-5.
“I knew going into tonight’s game that we would
have to play almost a perfect game to have an opportunity to
win,” said Creighton head coach Ed Servais. “But [Creighton]
can’t be disappointed with how they played today. They’re going
to look back on this season and they’re going to realize how
they got it; they came together.”
“It was special,” said catcher Scott Thornburg of
the Jays’ run in the postseason. “We came together as a group.
That’s something you’ll never forget as a senior.
Creighton (28-30, 2-2 Regional) wasted no time,
grabbing a two-run lead in the top of the first off a double
from Anthony Bemboom and an RBI groundout from Thornburg.
“They came out and threw a punch and we knew they
would,” said UCLA head coach John Savage. “But then all of a
sudden it’s 2-2 and it could have gone the other way.”
But the Bruins (45-14, 3-0 Regional), undaunted
by the first deficit they had faced all weekend, tied it up in
the bottom frame with one swing of the bat by Jeff Gelalich.
With two outs, Gelalich crushed a two-run shot over the right
field fence, tying the game at 2.
“I think the momentum definitely shifted in their
favor a little bit,” Bemoom said.
The ball stayed firmly in the Bruins’ court, as
they broke the game open in the third inning. UCLA batted around
and tagged Nick Musec and Mark Winkelman for five runs.
After Winkelman pitched around Gelalich to load
the bases, Trevor Brown dropped a two-RBI single into
centerfield to give UCLA a 5-2 lead.
With two outs and two on, pinch-hitter Shane
Ziele pulled a screaming line drive down the left side to score
Brown and make the Bruins’ lead 7-2.
After the Bluejays scored in the top of the
fifth, Gelalich matched the effort with another home run, this
one a solo shot to right-center to lead off the bottom of the
inning. UCLA went on to score another in the fifth and strung
together a four-run sixth inning, increasing its lead to 13-3.
Gelalich and Bemboom each finished with monster
days at the plate. Gelalich led the Bruins going 3 for 3 with
four RBI and three runs. Bemboom, one of the hottest hitters in
this weekend’s Regional, went 5 for 5 with a pair of RBI and a
However, the performance wasn’t enough to satisfy
the hungry senior.
“I’m just trying to give my team the best chance
to win,” Bemboom said. “I would have taken an 0-for-5 day for a
Creighton may not have captured the hearts of
college baseball nation the way a Cinderella team might have,
but don’t tell Savage that. Savage was thoroughly impressed by
every facet of Creighton’s program, calling them a “First Class
“To be where they were and make that run through
the Missouri Valley, that shows you that they never gave up on
each other,” Savage said.
Servais, while not thrilled with the outcome of
the weekend, was thrilled by the intangibles that Savage didn’t
fail to notice:
“I think the people that played us this week,
they understand that there’s a certain way in which Creighton