EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Creighton softball team split a doubleheader at Evansville to open Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play after a 2-0 victory in the opener and a 5-2 setback in the nightcap at the Purple Aces' Cooper Stadium Friday night. Senior Amy Baker set a new Creighton career home run mark in the process.
Creighton (15-9, 1-1 MVC) won the opener after back-to-back solo home runs from sophomore Liz Dike and Baker on offense. Junior Becca Changstrom contained the Evansville (7-12, 1-1 MVC) bats by matching her career high of 13 strikeouts against the Aces.
The home run by Baker increased her career total to 51 establishing a new program record. The Omaha native is now just one home run shy of the all-time MVC record of 52 set by Illinois State's Abby Olson in 2011. Baker owns 10 home runs this season to lead the conference.
Baker extended her new career RBI Creighton record as well, moving to 148. She also ranks in third on the all-time MVC RBI career list just nine shy of the record of 157 held by Illinois State's Heather Stella since 1999.
The Bluejays jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in game two but UE scored three in the bottom of the third frame to take a 3-1 advantage. A solo home run by CU freshman Blake Ringle cut the Aces' lead to 3-2 in the top of the sixth, but UE added a pair in the bottom of the inning for a 5-2 decision.
Dike led the Bluejays with three hits on the day while junior Ellen Homan added a pair.
Junior Becca Changstrom started in the circle for the Bluejays in game one.
Neither team scored through the first four innings as Changstrom struck out five of six UE batters to open the game.
In the top of the fifth with two outs, Dike connected on her second home run of the season to give the Bluejays a 1-0 lead. Baker followed with a solo homer of her own to increase the lead to 2-0.
Evansville managed just three hits in the game, a pair of singles and their best threat of the game - a leadoff triple in the bottom of the sixth. After a ground out and a walk, Changstrom got out of the jam by striking out the two in a row to maintain the two-run lead.
Changstrom ended the game by striking out the UE side in the bottom of the seventh to match her career high of 13 strikeouts. She improved to 10-4 on the season with the victory.
Creighton junior Alexis Cantu earned the starting nod for game two in the circle.
After a scoreless first frame, Creighton posted a run in the top of the second. A single by Cantu opened the inning as freshman Erin McGonigal entered the game as a pinch runner. After a sacrifice bunt and an Evansville error, McGonigal scored to give CU a 1-0 edge.
Evansville opened the third inning with a single. Cantu responded with two strikeouts of UE batters before the Aces started a two-out rally. An RBI single knotted the game at 1-1. A Bluejay error allowed an Ace to reach base and put two on base. An Evansville double scored two more runs before CU got out of the inning down 3-1.
Freshman Blake Ringle smashed a solo home run with one out in the top of the sixth frame to cut the UE lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Evansville loaded the bases and scored another pair of runs with two outs thanks to another Creighton error. UE led 5-2 after six innings and held on for the win and earn a doubleheader split.
Cantu dropped to 4-4 on the year after the loss.
Creighton concludes its MVC season-opening series at Evansville with a single game at noon CT Saturday.