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Corvallis Regional Preview: Creighton Blue Jays

Creighton hopes to continue their historic season in Corvallis.

TD Ameritrade, the home ballpark of the Creighton Blue Jays
Creighton’s home ballpark TD Ameritrade is host to the College World Series, and they hope to earn the opportunity to play there in June.
Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Creighton Blue Jays

The Skinny

The Creighton Blue Jays return to the NCAA tournament for the 11th time. Current Head Coach and Big East Coach of the Year Ed Servais has been with the program for sixteen years and has guided the team to five NCAA tournaments in his tenure. The 2019 team may be Servais’ most talented and successful as they now dominate the single-season Creighton record books. The Jays closed out the season 13-1 and earned a spot in the top 25 in every poll. The Blue Jays have done it with both good pitching and hitting throughout the season, although they’ve been more consistent at the plate than on the mound.

Jake Holton leads the way in almost all hitting categories for the Blue Jays, slashes .405ba/.502obp/1.228ops, and was the conference player of the year in the Big East.

The Jays have six players with five or more home runs, and four of those players are also batting above .300. The caveat to these fantastic numbers is the level of competition the Blue Jays have played. Their strength of schedule is 115, and their marquee wins are a sweep of Illinois State (RPI of 26) and two wins over Nebraska (RPI of 35). If Creighton can approach their season-long offensive numbers they could be hard to beat in the regional, and they are coming in hot after scoring 10, 17, and 9 runs in their three Big East tournament games.

While the hitting for Creighton has been stellar all year, the pitching has also performed admirably. Blue Jay ace Mitch Ragan won Big East pitcher of the year and had an ERA of 3.97 over 90 innings.

To go along with strong front-end starters Creighton has a bullpen that did not lose a game this year when they led or were tied going into the seventh inning. John Sakowski is their long reliever set up man while Bobby Kametas is their closer, and they have combined with the rest of this staff to shut teams down late in games. The Blue Jays also field the ball well which helps their staff stay out of trouble. Unlike the offense, howeve,r the pitching has struggled recently, giving up 9, 13, and 8 runs in the three games in the conference tournament.

Overall, I like this matchup for the Beavers. The Blue Jays are a very good team who has impressive players all over their roster—that’s why they’re a 2 seed. What they don’t have is extensive experience against the best teams in the country to go along with the impressive players like many of the other 2 seeds. They’ve only played six games against the RPI top 50 (we’ve played 25), and it will be fun to see if they can prove it come tournament time in Corvallis.

Number to Know: 0

Creighton lost 0 games this year when they were tied with or leading an opponent going into the seventh inning.

History Against Oregon State: The Blue Jays and Beavers have met 3 times before and the Beavers have won each meeting. They most recently played each other in the 2011 Corvallis regional when Oregon State won 5-1.

Schedule: Creighton will open their tournament schedule against Michigan on Friday afternoon at 1 PM PT.