Who says it’s tough to score runs at TD Ameritrade Park?
Creighton, which struggled to score consistently during the first month of the season, enjoyed a record-breaking afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park on Sunday, throttling Utah Valley 19-5 in the final game of a four-game series.
The Bluejays set a stadium record for runs by one team in a game, and the 24 combined runs also set a single-game record in the seven-year history of the stadium. Creighton hit two grand slams — one by Riley Landuyt in the third inning and another by Michael Emodi in the seventh — marking the first time since 2006 that the Jays hit two slams in a game.
“I thought we had some potential (on offense), we hadn’t shown it the first 10 or 11 games,” said coach Ed Servais, whose team was 1-11 on the season before winning three straight this weekend. “Some of these younger players are getting more comfortable, they’re getting more relaxed. They’re seeing the ball better, they’re not swinging at as many pitches out of the zone.
“I’m happy, hopefully a weekend like this can give us some confidence.”
Emodi set a stadium record with seven RBIs, the most by a Creighton player since Ryan Fitzgerald had seven April 27, 2003. The Omaha Creighton Prep graduate ended 4 for 5, adding a two-run double in the first inning and an RBI single in the fourth.
But it was his line drive grand slam into the left-field bullpen in the seventh that made the day memorable.
Emodi hit the first pitch he saw from Utah Valley’s Matt Davidson, a fastball. When he hit it, Emodi said he wasn’t sure it would clear the fence.
“Playing at TD, you never know,” Emodi said. “I knew I hit it hard, but I started running out of the box.”
Emodi’s grand slam was the icing on the cake for the Jays, who came into Sunday hitting .234 as a team and averaging 3.7 runs per game on the season. Landuyt’s slam put the Jays in control.
Utah Valley jumped to a 2-0 lead when cleanup hitter Jackson Overlund drilled a two-run homer in the top of the first before Emodi tied it with his two-run double. It was still 2-2 in the third when Creighton put together a two-out rally.
Utah Valley starting pitcher Kaden Schmitt, who entered the game with a 12.27 ERA, retired the first two batters in the third before allowing two singles and an RBI double to left center by Bryce Only. After walking Will Robertson to load the bases, Landuyt deposited a 1-1 pitch into the bullpen beyond the left-field fence.
“That actually wasn’t a real good hitter’s pitch, it was low and away,” Landuyt said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. It was a curveball, I kind of got under it and luckily it went.”
Landuyt said it was his first grand slam since he played Johnson County Community College in 2015. Landuyt had two RBIs last year for the Jays, and coming into Sunday had two RBIs this season. He matched his career total at Creighton with one swing.
“We need to get him going,” Servais said of Landuyt. “We need him in the middle of the order. He’s got to be an RBI guy, so hopefully that gets Riley settled a little bit.”
Creighton tacked on two runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to stretch the lead to 13-3 through five. The Jays put together another five-run rally in the seventh, thanks to Emodi. Coming into Sunday, there had been two grand slams in the history of the stadium.
Rogalla picked up his first win of the season as he struck out a career-high 10 in six innings. He issued six walks but allowed two hits.
“Keith came in with an aggressive attitude. He was ready to go,” Emodi said. “He had his slider working.”
Creighton, winner of three straight after a 1-11 start, returns to action Wednesday at Kansas. First pitch is at 3 p.m.
Utah Valley (4-15) …….. 200 100 101— 5 7 2
At Creighton (4-11) ….. 205 240 51x—19 16 1
W: Rogalla, 1-1. L: Schmitt, 0-3. 2B: UV, Overlund, Modler. CU, Collins, Emodi, Only, Upton. 3B: CU, Allbery. HR: UV, Overlund (2). CU, Emodi (4), Landuyt (2).