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by Editor Rick Cabral

Servais With a Smile

In an exclusive interview with BaseballSacramento.com, Creighton head coach Ed Servais revealed the secret formula for the Bluejays winning ways: play disciplined, solid defense, score five runs or more using creative offensive plays (re: “small ball”) and do it all with high energy.

That recipe failed him the past two days, as Creighton dropped to 5-5 after losing to Cal yesterday 7-5 and to Sac State today 7-2. 

The formula has served him well over the past eight years, as Servais has compiled a 299-165 record, making him the winningest coach in Creighton baseball history. Last year, he led his team to a 45-16 overall record, Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Servais was named the MVC Coach of the Year following the 2011 season, the fourth time he has earned the award at Creighton. His .644 winning percentage is tops in school history. 

Service_Smile
Creighton Head Coach Ed Servais (in blue) is seen smiling before the game during a discussion of the ground rules at John Smith Field. At far left is home plate umpire Tom Galdos, who would eject Servais in the second inning. Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen is in the center.



 

Asked how he’s done it, Servais admits it begins with defense. “Nobody has committed fewer errors than Creighton in the past eight years of college baseball,” he says proudly, pointing to a .977 fielding percentage during that period; best in the country. 

“We don’t play for the big inning,” he added before today’s game. “We’re not going to sit around and wait for a 3-run  homer.” He noted his team last year finished fourth in the country in sacrifice bunts (84).

Servais said his 11-game Western road trip is probably “two days too long,” but it helps to prepare his team for conference play. He complimented the West Coast weather, saying the 55-65 degree range is comparable to Omaha’s spring temperatures, providing the perfect weather complement this time of year. As one Creighton parent said during today’s game, “Back home, there’s still snow on the ground.” 

Servais believes his team’s annual spring break road trips—which alternate annually between Texas, Arizona, California, and a southeast trip—are a plus for recruiting top talent. Players enjoy the opportunity to travel and see places they've never visited.

Located in Omaha, Creighton last year began its playing home games at the spanking new TD Ameritrade stadium, new home for the College World Series. The Jays lost three of their first four games last year, then won 13 of the next 14. “Once the players got comfortable, because it’s a big ballpark, it fits right into what we’re trying to do.” 

Winning the MVC also brought out the local fan base. Creighton finished in the Top 10  nationwide in college baseball attendance, Servais said, drawing 18,000 for a home game with rival Nebraska. The Bluejays also won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at home, the first time Creighton has won both the conference title and the tournament. The Jays finished in the Top 25 rankings.

“It was one of the special years in Creighton baseball,” Servais admitted. It’s not surprising he’s looking forward to the future.

 

Uploaded 03/07/12
All contents © Rick Cabral 2012

 

 

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