• Box Score: Indiana St. 2, Creighton 0, 12 inn.
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Creighton’s frustration reached a new level Saturday as nine innings of no-hit baseball against the country’s best hitting team couldn’t produce a victory.
Erik Mattingly dominated Indiana State in a masterful 114-pitch effort, but his teammates couldn’t get him a run, sending the game into extra innings. The Sycamores then pulled out the win by scoring twice in the 12th inning for a 2-0 Missouri Valley win at TD Ameritrade Park.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like that,’’ Indiana State coach Rick Heller said.
Neither had Ed Servais, whose Creighton team has found some strange ways to lose games this season. But to squander a pitching performance like Mattingly’s definitely established a season low for the 13-15 Bluejays.
“Erik was marvelous,’’ Servais said. “To go nine and throw a no-hitter against that kind of a team, that’s a great job on his part. He deserves better.’’
Unfortunately for Mattingly, Indiana State starter Sean Manaea found ways to wiggle out of tight spots in the first and ninth innings to keep the Bluejays scoreless. Creighton loaded the bases in the first with no outs. Scott Thornburg then lined a shot up the middle that hit Manaea in his backside.
The pitcher retrieved the ball and threw home for a forceout, then struck out the next two hitters to escape the jam.
“That line drive to the rear end seemed like it woke him up,’’ Heller said, “because after that, he was really, really good.’’
Until the ninth, when Creighton put a charge into the crowd of 2,242 by almost scoring the run that would have made Mattingly the first Bluejay pitcher to throw a nine-inning no-hitter.
Anthony Bemboom opened the ninth with a walk but got picked off first, a costly mistake since Alex Staehely followed with a double. Mike Gerber then singled sharply up the middle, but center fielder Lucas Hileman threw out Staehely at the plate.
Manaea hit the next batter but ended the inning by getting Jake Peter to hit a long fly to center.
Indiana State finally got a couple of hits in the 10th inning off relievers Mark Winkelman and Reese McGraw, then won it in the 12th when Jon Hedges drilled a two-out, two-run single off McGraw.
Given what Mattingly had done, Hedges said, the Sycamores were fortunate to come away with the win that improved their record to 26-6 and 6-2.
“That kid threw a hell of a game,’’ said Hedges, one of six Indiana State players who came into the game hitting .350 or better. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but with this group of guys, it’s tough for any pitcher to slow us down.
“All of his stuff was on, and he came to play today.’’
Indiana State started the week as Division I’s top hitting team with a .332 batting average.
“We’re a good hitting team,’’ Heller said, “and we didn’t sniff him.’’
Mattingly faced only 28 hitters. The senior from Lakewood, Colo., hit a batter in the first inning and a second runner reached on an error in the second. After that, he retired the last 22 hitters he faced. Perhaps the truest indicator of Mattingly’s dominance is that his fielders didn’t need to make any outstanding plays behind him to keep the no-hitter intact.
Mattingly struck out three and got 16 ground-ball outs.
“Everything was working for me today,’’ he said. “I could throw three or four pitches for strikes, and my defense made every single play.’’
Mattingly started the season as a reliever and was making only his third start. His longest previous outing was five innings. In fact, Mattingly said, he had never thrown nine innings in his life.
Nor had he ever pitched a no-hitter at any level.
“Never even come close,’’ he said.
He took the mound in the ninth needing three outs — and a run — to get one. He got the outs — on a strikeout and two routine groundouts — but his teammates couldn’t get him the run.
“I was really hoping our offense would pull it out, and we just came up a little short,’’ Mattingly said. “It’s nobody’s fault. It just didn’t happen for us.’’
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