KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Creighton softball team held its opponents scoreless while allowing only five hits during a doubleheader sweep of Saint Francis and North Dakota at the Rebel Spring Games on Saturday.
Creighton (10-6) used a two-out, seventh-inning rally to record a 2-0 defeat of Saint Francis (10-6) in the opener. In game two the Creighton bats continued to be hot. The Jays scored eight runs in the first two innings while CU junior Alexis Cantu allowed one hit to North Dakota (3-11) in a 9-0 win in five innings.
The Bluejays outscored their foes 11-0, posted 20 hits and hit .377 on the day. Nine different CU players registered a hit Saturday. Junior Ellen Homan totaled four while classmate Blair Lowe and senior Amy Baker each had three hits. Sophomore Bri Lingl and freshman Blake Ringle led the team with three RBI apiece thanks in part to home runs in the finale.
Junior Becca Changstrom started in the circle for Creighton against SFU.
Creighton put pressure on Saint Francis starter Ketarah DeVries right away in the top of the first inning. Homan singled to open the inning, Lowe followed with a walk. Lingl followed with a two-out single, which would be a theme in the game, before a pop-up ended the inning.
SFU posted a one-out single in the bottom of the frame but the game remained scoreless. Neither team registered a hit over the next two innings.
In the top of the fourth CU freshman Kelsey Allender rifled a two-out single up the middle before SFU got out of the inning. Saint Francis opened its half of the inning with a single and drew a one-out walk but could not bring the runners home.
Lowe continued the two-out single theme in the top of the fifth but was stranded at first. The Red Flash put a runner on second after a Creighton error but Changstrom recorded a strikeout and pop fly to end the inning at 0-0.
Cantu was hit by a DeVries pitch to open the sixth frame. The SFU outfield made a run-saving catch on a deep fly ball by Lingl to right center and eventually got out of the inning unscathed. Creighton weathered another Red Flash threat in the bottom of the sixth when SFU posted back-to-back singles with two outs, but a pop-up to second ended the inning.
Homan sparked the two-out rally in the top of the seventh with a single to left center. Lowe followed with a double to left center that rolled to the fence to score Homan from first and give CU a 1-0 lead. Baker singled up the middle to score Lowe and make it a 2-0 advantage for the Jays.
Saint Francis put one on to open the seventh inning but Changstrom recorded a strikeout and ground out to end the game and secure the victory. She improved to 6-3 on the season with the complete-game win. Changstrom allowed four hits while racking up eight strikeouts and yielding one walk.
In game two, the Creighton bats caught fire posting nine runs and 13 hits against North Dakota while allowing UND just one hit in the contest.
Cantu earned the start for the Bluejays in the circle in the second contest.
The Jays' defense did not allow a base runner through the first three innings while the CU offense exploded for eight runs.
Homan started off the top of the first with an infield single and later stole second. Baker singled down the right field line to put runners on the corners with one out for Cantu. The pitcher helped her cause with an RBI single to score Homan and give Creighton a 1-0 lead.
Lingl followed with her third homer of the season down the left field line to make it 4-0 Jays. Freshman Blake Ringle followed with a solo shot over the fence in center field for a 5-0 Creighton lead.
After a UND pitching change, the hits kept coming for CU as Allender hit a one-out single. Sophomore Liz Dike doubled to center field to put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Allender finished the scoring in the first after a wild pitch by UND for a 6-0 Creighton advantage.
In the top of the second Lowe singled to open the inning. Baker followed with a single down the line in left. With two runners in scoring position and two outs on the board, Ringle came through again with a two-RBI single to increase the Bluejays' lead to 8-0 after two.
North Dakota connected on a single in the fourth that went just over the head of Dike at shortstop for its only hit of the contest.
Cantu opened the fourth with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a passed ball. A walk to Lingl put runners on the corners before a UND pitching change. A walk to Ringle loaded the bases as freshman Jordan Brydges came on to run for Cantu at third. Allender reached on a fielder's choice as Brydges scored from third for the Jays' final run of the day.
In the fifth, Cantu ended the game with three strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 3-2 this season. Through five innings of work she allowed one hit, did not surrender a walk and struck out five UND batters.
Creighton resumes play at the Rebel Spring Games beginning at 2 p.m. CT Sunday with a contest against Butler before battling Eastern Illinois in the second game of a doubleheader slated for 4 p.m