FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Creighton’s Steve Winkelmann sent home six runs for the Bluejays in a 21-11 victory Saturday over Albany in the Fayetteville Regional of the NCAA baseball tournament, sending Albany home and advancing Creighton to today’s game.
Winkelmann went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored three runs himself, including one on a three-run home run in a six-run sixth inning that helped turn a 3-2 game into a rout that lasted more than four hours.
He was joined by two other Bluejay batters who hit home runs, both solo blasts, in the same inning: Andrew Small and Brett Mieras, who hit a long fly ball to left-center and ran it out for inside-the-park homer. Small and Mieras both finished 4-for-6 with a combined six RBIs.
The second loss eliminates Albany (29-29) from the tournament, while Creighton (45-15) stays alive to play today against the loser of a later game Saturday between Arkansas and Oklahoma State. The winner of the Fayetteville Regional will play in a super-regional against the winner of a regional tournament at Columbia, Mo.
Albany scored a run in the first inning when Tom Hill’s RBI-groundout sent leadoff hitter Al Barbato home. But the Great Danes, who went 0-2 in their first-ever NCAA baseball tournament appearance, had trouble generating offense for much of the rest of the game, leaving 12 baserunners stranded.
Albany’s biggest offensive innings were the eighth and ninth innings, when the Danes scored a combined eight runs on six hits. But the two runs they scored in the final inning were far short of what was needed to overcome what had become a 21-9 deficit.
Creighton scored a combined nine runs in the sixth and seventh innings on 10 hits and three Albany fielding errors.
Both Creighton and Albany used a combined 13 pitchers in the game. Creighton’s Casey Schmidt (6-1) picked up the win, while Albany starter Cory Warrings (3-5) was tagged with the loss.