• Box Score: Creighton 7, New Mexico 2
• Video Below: See Anthony Bemboom and Reese McGraw discuss the Creighton win
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LOS ANGELES — Anthony Bemboom hit a three-run homer Sunday to start Creighton on its way to a victory that put the Bluejays into the championship game of the Los Angeles regional.
Bemboom blasted his team-leading fifth homer of the season in the first inning, and Creighton got a solid starting outing from Erik Mattingly in a 7-2 victory over third-seeded New Mexico at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The victory advanced the fourth-seeded Bluejays (28-29) into a Sunday night rematch with top-seeded UCLA, which posted a 3-0 victory over Creighton in the opening round. The Bluejays would have to defeat UCLA twice to advance to super-regional play.
The victory was costly as Mike Gerber, the Bluejays' outstanding center fielder, suffered a hamstring injury right after hitting a double to follow Bemboom's first-inning blast. Gerber tried to stay in the game but was removed after limping to third on a single by Scott Thornburg.
Jordan Makovicka replaced Gerber, and coach Ed Servais shifted left fielder Brad McKewon to center with Makovicka playing left field.
Mattingly pitched into the seventh and allowed New Mexico, which was ranked fourth in the nation in hitting (.333) coming into the tournament, to three hits. One of the two runs off Mattingly was unearned as the Bluejays, who had committed just one error in the past seven games, had two miscues.
Bemboom followed first-inning singles by Nick Judkins and Chance Ross with a drive into the hitting facility in right field off New Mexico starter Josh Walker (8-3). Gerber and Thornburg followed with hits but Walker stranded runners at first and third by getting the next two hitters.
New Mexico went hitless for the first three innings off Mattingly before Ben Woodchick led off the fourth with a double. Mattingly hit DJ Peterson, the Lobos' leading hitter with a .424 average, and gave up a single to Ryan Padilla to make it 3-1.
Mattingly came back to get out of the inning with a strikeout, a forceout and a popout.
Creighton countered with two runs in the fourth, using a two-out walk to McKewon, a double by Judkins and Ross' ground single up the middle to make it 5-1.
New Mexico scored an unearned run off Mattingly in the fifth but Creighton came back with two more runs in its half of the inning on Brennan Murphy's two-out double.
Mattingly left two batters into the seventh as he walked Kyle Stiner and Jacob Nelson reached on a fielding error by Ross. Reece McGraw replaced Mattingly and got out of the inning by retiring Alex Allbritton on a popup on a sacrifice attempt and getting Mitchell Garver to ground into a double play.
McGraw pitched a perfect eighth and ninth innings to finish off the Lobos, who finished the season 37-24.
Creighton outhit New Mexico 11-3. It was the seventh time in the past eight games that the Bluejays, who had been one of college baseball's most offensively challenged teams during the regular season, finished a game with 10 or more hits.4
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