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Courtesy: Jason Wise Photography

Softball Completes Regular-Season Road Schedule at Drake

On Deck: The first-place Creighton softball team completes its regular-season road schedule at third-place Drake on Tuesday with a Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) doubleheader slated for 4 p.m. CT in Des Moines.

The rescheduled twin bill, originally scheduled for April 16 in Omaha, was moved to Des Moines two weeks ago after the teams were rained out. The doubleheader replaces the originally scheduled single game at Drake's Buel Field.

Creighton (27-14, 13-4 MVC) will be the designated home team in game one at 4 p.m. Drake (26-19, 12-7 MVC) will be the designated home team in the nightcap. The third game of the series will not be played.

The Bluejays are currently in first place in the MVC after a split at Missouri State on Sunday. The Jays are perched atop the standings 1.5 games ahead of second-place Illinois State and two games in front of Drake with just one week of regular-season conference softball action remaining.

The Bulldogs dropped two out of three games at Wichita State last weekend, falling behind Illinois State in the standings. DU is just 3-4 over the last seven games overall. Drake is 6-3 in home games this year.

After claiming the MVC career home run record outright last month, Creighton senior Amy Baker became the first player to eclipse the Valley RBI record three weeks ago.

However, Baker is in an active battle with Illinois State senior Elizabeth Kay to hold on to the top RBI mark. Neither player drove in a run last weekend as Kay’s career total of 166 RBI is just two ahead of Baker at 164 career runs batted in heading into the final week of the regular season.

Following the Jays: Live stats links for the game can be found on the softball schedule page of GoCreighton.com. Fans can also keep in touch with Creighton softball on Twitter - @BluejaySoftball and Facebook - www.facebook.com/CreightonSoftball.

Last Time Out: Creighton split a doubleheader at Missouri State April 28 as the Bluejays won the opener 3-1 before falling 10-5 in game two at the Bears’ Killian Stadium.

MSU and CU each posted 13 hits but the Bears plated 11 runs to just eight for the Bluejays. The Creighton pitching staff only allowed three earned runs on the day but seven Bluejay errors came back to haunt CU - including six miscues in game two alone.

The six errors in game two marked the most since the Jays committed one-half dozen miscues against Northern Iowa on April 2, 2006.

Freshman Blake Ringle led the Bluejays at the plate with three hits and a trio of RBI in six at-bats including a home run to give Creighton an early lead in game two. Sophomore Liz Dike posted three hits and scored a pair of runs.

With the first game tied at 1-1, MSU threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth by loading the bases with two outs. But the Bears saw that opportunity dashed by CU junior Ellen Homan who made a spectacular running and tumbling grab in shallow left field to close out the inning and keep the score tied.

A pair of fielder’s choice at-bats provided two runs for the Jays in the top of the seventh to secure a 3-1 victory.

Junior Becca Changstrom earned the complete-game win to improve 20-7 with nine strikeouts and without yielding an earned run. Noteworthy, Changstrom passed MSU head coach - and former Bluejay hurler - Holly Hesse on the CU all-time career wins list with the victory over the Bears.

Neither of the game two starters made it past three innings after the contest became a high-scoring affair early on. Both teams scored in each of the first three innings resulting in 11 total runs heading into the fourth frame.

Creighton took a brief 2-0 lead in the top of the first before falling behind 3-2 in the bottom of the frame. Three Bluejay errors in the first helped the Bears move into the lead.

CU tied it at 3-3 and 4-4 but could never grab the lead. MSU took the lead for good at 7-4 in the bottom of the fourth before claiming a 10-5 victory on the Bears’ senior day.

Scouting Creighton (27-14, 13-4 MVC): Creighton split a doubleheader at Missouri State on Sunday taking a 3-1 come-from-behind win from the Bears before a 10-5 loss to MSU in a game marred by six CU errors.

The Jays remained unscathed through six MVC series as Creighton claimed all five three-game sets in the league before the 1-1 split at MSU last weekend, shortened by a rainout game.

Creighton has won eight of its last 11 games dating back to April 6 including an 8-2 MVC mark during that time frame.

The Bluejays have five games remaining on the schedule beginning with the twin bill at Drake Tuesday before celebrating senior weekend at home against Wichita State to end the week. Creighton is 7-5 in true road games this season and has won four of its last five on the road in the Valley.

The Bluejays are currently in first place in the MVC perched atop the standings 1.5 games ahead of second-place Illinois State and two games in front of Drake with just one week of regular-season conference softball action remaining.

Junior pitcher Becca Changstrom’s 223 strikeouts this season ranks seventh all-time in the CU record books. Remarkably, her total is more than eight of the Valley’s pitching staff team totals this season for K’s and just shy of Bradley’s staff total of 230 combined strikeouts.

In the circle, CU junior pitchers Changstrom and Alexis Cantu are among the top six in the Valley ERA standings. Changstrom leads the MVC with a 1.69 ERA while Cantu boasts a 2.95 ERA. As a staff, the Jays lead the conference with a 2.31 ERA and 291 strikeouts.

Changstrom leads the Valley in ERA (1.69), strikeouts (223), opposing batting average (.193) and wins (20).

Senior Amy Baker maintained her MVC home run career record of 57 last week.

After claiming the MVC career home run record outright last month, Baker became the first player to eclipse the Valley RBI record three weeks ago.

However, Baker is in an active battle with Illinois State senior Elizabeth Kay to hold on to the top RBI mark. Neither player drove in a run last weekend as Kay’s career total of 166 RBI is just two ahead of Baker at 164 career runs batted in heading into the final week of the regular season.

Sophomore Liz Dike has posted a hit in seven consecutive games for the Bluejays. The streak is a career-best mark for Dike after posting hits in six straight contests last season.

Four Creighton players who have notched at least 50 at-bats in 2013 are hitting .300 or better including Baker (.387), Dike (.350), junior Blair Lowe (.319) and freshman Blake Ringle (.309). Creighton ranks fifth in the Valley with a .267 batting average. The Jays’ 44 home runs and .450 slugging percentage are tops in the MVC.

Scouting Drake (26-19, 12-7 MVC): Drake dropped to third place in the MVC standings last weekend after dropping two out of three games at Wichita State last weekend. The Bulldogs trail first-place Creighton by two games and are one-half game behind Illinois State for second place.

Drake won the opener 3-1 at WSU before the Shockers came back to take the final two games with 6-1 and 8-4 victories. The Bulldogs are 6-3 in home games in Des Moines this year. Drake is only 3-4 over its last seven games.

DU ends the MVC season with five home games. The Bulldogs host Northern Iowa this weekend after the Tuesday twin bill with the Jays.

Drake is fourth in the league with a .282 team batting average. The Bulldog pitching staff trails only the Jays with a 3.02 team ERA this season. DU’s .426 slugging percentage and 36 homers are third only to CU and Illinois State. The Bulldogs lead the league with nine team saves this year.

Five of the Bulldogs’ starters are hitting .318 or better at the plate in 2013 including Amy Pierce (.357), Nicole Randel (.350), Laura Brewer (.343), Macie Silliman (.333) and Hayley Nybo (.318).

Pierce and Nybo lead the team with nine homers apiece. Nybo leads Du with 37 RBI while Pierce claims the top team slugging percentage of .623. Pierce is also a threat on the base paths with 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

In the circle, Jordan Gronewold leads DU with 42 starts in 44 appearances. She carries a 3.28 ERA with a 16-9 record. Through 145.1 innings of work she has registered 82 strikeouts and 73 walks. Rebekah Schmidt has made 41 appearances but started just three times in 2013. She leads the staff with a 2.40 ERA and 134 strikeouts. Schmidt owns a 10-10 record this season.

Head Coach: The winningest coach in Creighton athletics history, Brent Vigness is in his 20th season at the helm of one of the most successful programs in the Midwest and Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). He carries a 633-442-3 record in 19-plus seasons at Creighton and boasts a 781-513-4 overall record that includes five years at Assumption College prior to beginning at CU.

A three-time MVC Coach of the Year, he has led the Bluejays to six MVC regular-sea­son titles (1998-2000, 2007-09), six Valley tournament titles (1999, 2003-05, 2007, 2010) and seven NCAA regional appearances (1999, 2003-05, 2007-08, 2010). He claimed MVC Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and guided the MVC Coaching Staffs of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Vigness coached his 1,000th game at Creighton and recorded his 600th win at CU in 2012.

Creighton-Drake Series: The Bluejays lead the all-time series with the Bulldogs 56-27. Creighton has won seven of the last 10 in the series overall and have also claimed seven of the last nine games in Omaha.

Creighton took the series from Drake 2-1 last season. The teams split a doubleheader in Des Moines on April 18 as CU won 5-2 before falling 2-0 in the nightcap. The Bluejays claimed the rubber match 6-2 in Omaha on April 24.

The teams first met in 1978 when Creighton visited Drake on April 22 and suffered a 4-0 setback. The teams have met every season since 1993 when Creighton joined the MVC for softball.

 

Changstrom Surpasses 200 Strikeouts in Stellar Season

On April 21, CU junior pitcher Becca Changstrom became just the third Bluejay in program history to record 200 strikeouts in a single season. After fanning nine Missouri State batters on Sunday, Changstrom boasts 223 K’s this year.

She joined former Creighton aces Tammy Nielsen and Tara Oltman in the exclusive club.  Changstrom’s total ranks No. 7 all-time in the CU record books for a single season. She needs 39 more strikeouts to take over sixth place in program history.

The Lincoln, Neb., native struck out 23 Salukis on April 20-21 with a pair of double-digit strikeout performances. With a dozen K's in game one versus SIU and 11 more in game three she increased her season total of double-digit strikeout efforts to 11 this season to lead the Valley.

The rest of the league owns just seven games total with 10 or more strikeouts. No other MVC pitcher can claim more than three such efforts in 2013.

Changstrom leads the Valley in ERA (1.69), strikeouts (223), opposing batting average (.193) and wins (20).

Creighton and the NCAA RPI: Creighton currently stands at No. 69 out of 291 squads in the NCAA ratings percentage index (RPI) compiled on Monday.

The Bluejays are 3-6 this season against teams ranked ahead of them in the latest calculations.

CU dropped a 5-2 contest on opening day to No. 49 San Diego State on Feb. 7 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

A day later at the Classic this week’s No. 3 Florida squad defeated Creighton 13-3. Later that same day the Bluejays toppled No. 33 Oregon State, 5-3.

The Jays overwhelmed No. 63 Ball State 7-1 at the Central Arkansas Tournament on Feb. 22 before falling to host UCA, the No. 67 squad this week, 13-2 later that evening.

The Bluejays dropped a 5-0 contest to No. 61 Eastern Illinois at the Rebel Spring Games on March 10.

Creighton owns a 4-3 win in eight innings over this week’s No. 26 team, Tulsa, at the UTA Maverick Invitational on March 2.

On April 3, No. 6 Nebraska escaped with a 4-3 victory over the Bluejays at the CU Sports Complex. The Jays later dropped a 6-0 decision at Nebraska on April 24.

Illinois State is the only Missouri Valley Conference team ranked higher than the Jays; the Redbirds currently rate No. 47.  Illinois State and Creighton cancelled their season series due to inclement weather on April 22.

Baker Ranks Among Top 20 in Three NCAA Offensive Categories: Senior Amy Baker ranks No. 12 in the country for home runs per game (0.39). She stands at No. 15 nationally in slugging percentage (.849). Baker’s season home run total of 16 is tied for No. 19 in the country this week.

Bluejays’ NCAA Rankings this Week: Creighton ranks No. 27 in the country at 1.07 home runs per game in the latest NCAA weekly statistical rankings released April 28.

The Bluejays stand at No. 42 nationally with an earned run average of 2.31. With 1.34 doubles per game, the team also rates at No. 57 in the country. Creighton’s slugging percentage of .448 ranks No. 59 in the NCAA.

Individually, junior Becca Changstrom’s average of 9.0 strikeouts per seven innings stands at No. 21 in the NCAA while her season strikeout total of 223 ranks No. 23 nationally. Changstrom’s total of six shutouts in 2013 is tied for No. 31 in the country. The hurler’s total of 20 victories ranks No. 38 in the NCAA while her 1.69 ERA rates No. 47 nationally.

Baker Writes Recipe for Record-Setting Success in 2013: Senior Amy Baker maintained the Missouri Valley Conference home run record last week at a career total of 57.

Last month Baker belted career home run No. 52 to spark a come-from-behind victory at Evansville on March 16 and tie the MVC career home run record held by Abby Olson of Illinois State since 2011.

MVC Career Home Runs

T1. 57 Amy Baker, CU (2010-pres.)

T1. 52 Abby Olson, ILS (2008-2011)

3. 50 Renae Sinkler, CU (2007-10)

4. 47 Amber Smith, ILS (2006-09)

Baker’s total of 16 homers this year already equals the fourth-best mark for a single season in the CU record books. She is two home runs short of her career-best total of 18 that ranks second all-time in program history.

She also became the first player to eclipse the Valley RBI record two weeks ago. However, Baker is in an active battle with Illinois State senior Elizabeth Kay to hold on to the top RBI mark.

Neither player drove in a run last weekend as Kay’s career total of 166 RBI is just two more than Baker at 164 career runs batted in heading into the final week of the regular season.

MVC Career RBI

1. 166 Elizabeth Kay, ILS (2010-pres.)

2. 164 Amy Baker, CU (2010-pres.)

3. 157 Heather Stella, ILS (1996-99)

4. 150 Amber Smith, ILS (2006-09)

5. 146 Renae Sinkler, CU (2007-10)

6. 145 Jessica Huff, UE (1998-01)

7. 144 Abby Johnson, CU (2002-05)

In 2013, Baker has already set Creighton career marks in home runs (57) and runs batted in (164).

Give the Bluejays a Lead and You May Not Get it Back: Creighton is undefeated this season when leading after the third (14-0), fourth (17-0), and sixth (14-0) innings.

The Bluejays also have impressive records with an advantage at the beginning of the game. CU is 10-1 when leading after the first frame and 13-1 when up after two innings. The Jays are 14-1 when leading after five innings.

Creighton's Magic Numbers:

·      Creighton is undefeated at 20-0 this season when allowing opponents fewer than three runs.

·      The Bluejays are 20-1 when scoring four or more runs on offense in 2013.

·      CU is 20-4 when scoring first this season.

·      Creighton is 23-1 when posting more hits than its foes this year.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Just five weeks into the season, junior Alexis Cantu set the Creighton single-season mark for being hit by a pitch in 11 plate appearances. On Sunday she earned her 12th free base after getting hit at Missouri State.

Former Bluejay Michelle Graner held the previous record of 10 set in 2008.

Cantu’s hit-by-pitch per game average of 0.29 stands No. 34 in the nation.

Cantu was hit multiple times on two occasions this year. Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff she was hit three times in four plate appearances. Cantu was hit by a pitch in each game of the Jays’ series at Evansville. The Aces registered two HBP’s against Cantu in game two sandwiched between one hit-by-pitch in the games one and three.

Baker Climbs to the Top of CU Career Record Books:  Last month senior Amy Baker claimed the top spot in the all-time Creighton record books for home runs and runs batted in.

The senior’s career total of 57 homers surpassed the previous top mark of 50, set by current assistant coach Renae Sinkler in 2010. Baker has also set the Missouri Valley Conference mark.

With 164 career runs batted in, Baker recently moved past both of her assistant coaches in the rankings Abby Johnson (144) and Sinkler (146) to claim the top spot.

Baker is also among the Creighton career top 10 for batting average, total bases and walks.

Baker leads the Valley in home runs (16), total bases (101) and slugging percentage (.849) this season.

Walk It Off in Grand Style: Amy Baker’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning against Youngstown State on March 12 secured a 6-2 win and marked the 16th time a CU player hit a walk-off blast since 2001.

The slam also marked the third straight season with a walk-off home run. In 2012

Alexis Cantu’s three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning vs. Missouri State on May 6 beat the Bears, 5-4.

Cantu’s first career walk-off homer was the first by any Bluejay since Sammy Snygg posted one against Bradley on April 2, 2011.

Stacey Rybar is the last Bluejay with two walk-off homers in the same season (2002), and also the last Bluejay with a walk-off homer in the MVC Tournament (May 10, 2002 vs. UNI).

Here’s a list of Creighton’s walk-off home runs since 1999:

Inn. Player vs. Opponent Date

8 Amy Baker vs. Youngstown State 3/12/13

8 Alexis Cantu vs. Missouri State 5/6/12

8 Sammy Snygg vs. Bradley 4/2/11

10 Michelle Graner vs. Wichita State 5/3/09

7 Laura Kratochvil vs. Illinois State 3/21/09

6* Sara Loeffelholz vs. Saint Joseph’s 3/6/09

10 TJ Eadus vs. Northern Iowa 3/29/08

7 Bailey Dawson vs. Texas State 2/9/08

6* Michelle Graner vs. South Dakota State 3/22/07

9 Jessica Merkel vs. Nebraska 4/14/05

6* Lauren Flores vs. Bradley 4/9/05

7# Abby Johnson at Missouri State 3/15/03

7 Stacey Rybar vs. Northern Iowa 5/10/02

8# Stacey Rybar at Bradley 5/4/02

5* Nicole Garber vs. Drake 4/23/02

10 Kari Shank vs. Northern Iowa 4/8/01

*walk-off due to run-rule;

#CU hit as home team in away game

 

Homer Cooking: After not hitting a home run in the first two games of 2013, Creighton jacked at least one ball over the fence in 10 consecutive contests before the streak was halted at UT Arlington for three games.

Creighton has drilled a home run in 17 of its last 23 contests, including six multi-homer games. Freshman Blake Ringle belted the Bluejays’ lone homer of the week in the top of the first of the series finale at Missouri State on Sunday.

Freshman Kelsey Allender’s first career grand slam highlighted the series versus UNI on March 29. The slam was the Jays’ second of the year following Amy Baker’s walk-off grand slam against Youngstown State on March 12.

As a result, CU leads the Valley with 44 homers this season. The Bluejays rank No. 27 nationally with 1.07 home runs per game in the latest NCAA statistical rankings released April 29.

Seven Bluejays have hit multiple home runs this season led by Amy Baker’s league-leading total of 16. Joining Baker with more than one homer in 2013 is Ringle (7), sophomore Bri Lingl (6), junior Alexis Cantu (6) sophomore Liz Dike (3), junior Blair Lowe (2) and Allender (2).

Allender hit her first career home run of an inside-the-park variety against Grambling State Feb. 24. Allender’s inside-the-park home run is the first since Dike scored two of them last season, the last against Wichita State on April 7, 2012.

Senior Sammy Snygg also rifled a shot over the wall versus then-No. 14 Florida in Creighton’s opening weekend. Junior Ellen Homan drilled a three-run homer at home against Bradley April 6.

Nebraska Rivalry Part Two: The Creighton softball team dropped a 6-0 decision at No. 20 Nebraska April 24 at the Cornhuskers’ Bowlin Stadium.

Nebraska used three home runs to score all of its runs. Creighton managed a pair of hits and left five runners on base. Junior Ellen Homan notched the first hit of the game with an infield single to third in the second inning. Freshman Erin McGonigal recorded her first career hit in the third frame on a slap single down the left field line in her first career start.

Southern Illinois Series Recap: For the first time since 2009, Creighton welcomed Southern Illinois to Omaha for a Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) series. The Jays took two out of three contests to claim their fifth MVC series win of the year and remain in first place in the Valley standings.

Creighton won a wild series opener in dramatic fashion. After seven complete innings of scoreless ball, SIU and Creighton exploded for 11 runs in the eighth inning. After the Salukis posted five runs in the top of the frame, Creighton answered with six in the bottom of the eighth to cap a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

The Bluejays batted around in the bottom of the eighth as freshman Blake Ringle ripped a three-run pinch hit homer and junior Ellen Homan ended the game with a two-RBI bases-loaded single for the 6-5 win.

Southern Illinois snapped Creighton’s season-long six-game win streak with a 6-1 victory in game two. The Bluejays blanked SIU 5-0 in the finale to capture the series win.

Creighton hit .310 in the series scoring 12 runs on 26 hits. Three Bluejays hit .400 or better over the three-game series. Creighton hit four homers on the weekend including a pair from junior Alexis Cantu and one each from Ringle and senior Amy Baker. Sophomore Liz Dike finished the weekend with a .417 average at the dish with a 5-of-12 effort.

Junior pitcher Becca Changstrom went undefeated against Southern Illinois with a pair of complete-game victories while surpassing the 200-strikeout mark.

In her two starts against the Salukis, Changstrom pitched 15.0 innings giving up just five runs on 10 hits, resulting in an ERA of 2.33. She only allowed the Salukis one inning of scoring all weekend and shut out SIU in the series finale.

The Lincoln, Neb., native struck out 23 Salukis on the weekend with a pair of double-digit strikeout performances. With a dozen K's in game one and 11 more in game three she increased her season total of double-digit strikeout efforts to 11 this season to lead the Valley.

As a result, Changstrom claimed MVC Pitcher of the Week honors for her play.

Indiana State Series Recap: For the first time since 2005, Creighton posted a road sweep at Indiana State. The Bluejays won game one of a doubleheader 3-1 before dominating the nightcap with a 16-5 victory in five frames Saturday. CU closed the series with a 9-1 victory in six innings on Sunday.

The Jays outscored ISU 28-7 and out-hit the Sycamores 33-15 on the weekend. Six Bluejays hit .400 or better over the three-game series. CU players batted .393 at the plate and finished the weekend with a .798 slugging percentage.

Creighton hit seven homers on the weekend including a pair from senior Amy Baker and two from junior Blair Lowe. Coming into the weekend, Lowe boasted one career home run, but hit two homers out of the Sycamores’ Price Field. Lowe and sophomore Liz Dike finished the weekend with a .636 average at the dish with 7-of-11 efforts.

As a result, Lowe claimed MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors for her play in Terre Haute.

In the circle, juniors Becca Changstrom and Alexis Cantu combined for three complete-game victories. Changstrom won games one and three for the Jays, allowing just two earned runs while fanning 19 Sycamores on the weekend including 10 in the finale – her ninth double-digit strikeout effort this season.

Marching into Spring: Creighton finished the month of March with a 14-5 record this year. The Jays closed out the month on a four-game win streak and opened its home season with a three-game sweep of Northern Iowa to take over first place in the Valley.

Last season the Bluejays finished 9-10 in the third month of 2012.

 

Bradley Series Recap: Creighton took two out of three games from Bradley at home April 6-7. Each game of the series was decided by just one run.

Bradley won the opener 3-2 before the Bluejays came from behind to take game two of a doubleheader 6-5 in eight innings on April 6. CU jumped out to a 3-0 lead April 7 before BU scored two in its final at-bat for a 3-2 Jays’ win.

Senior Amy Baker's pair of home runs against Bradley increased her career total to 54 homers. With 156 career runs batted in, Baker needs just one RBI this week to tie the Valley career RBI record of 157.

Day one of the series ended in dramatic fashion. Junior Ellen Homan connected on a three-run home run just over the right field wall to tie game two at 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning. It marked Homan’s first home run of the season and third of her career.

In her first at-bat of the season, junior right-handed pitcher Becca Changstrom capped the come-from-behind victory with a walk-off double to right center in the bottom of the eighth inning of game two to give the Jays a 6-5 victory over BU.

 

Nebraska Rivalry Part One: Down 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Creighton softball team rallied to load the bases and put pressure on visiting No. 22 Nebraska but the Cornhuskers got out of the jam to escape with the one-run victory at the CU Sports Complex Wednesday evening.

The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Creighton (19-10) as Nebraska (26-7) dealt the Bluejays their first defeat at home this year.

 

Creighton jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Senior Amy Baker drew a two-out walk before junior Alexis Cantu drilled a two-run homer over the left field wall to put the Bluejays up two after one inning.

 

Nebraska quickly answered in the top of the second inning with back-to-back solo home runs then took the lead for good in the fifth before adding an insurance run in the seventh.

 

Following a leadoff walk, a double from CU sophomore Bri Lingl down the right field line put runners in scoring position with no outs. A one-out RBI single from junior Blair Lowe scored a run to cut the Husker lead to 4-3 with runners on the corners. Freshman Kelsey Allender drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases with one out on the scoreboard.

But the Huskers handled the pressure to strike out the final two Bluejay batters and escape with a 4-3 victory.

Northern Iowa Series Recap: Creighton swept a three-game series from Northern Iowa March 29-30 at the CU Sports Complex. The Bluejays swept a Friday doubleheader by scores of 4-1 and 11-1, with the second game shortened to five innings. CU clinched the Saturday finale 4-2.

Sophomore Liz Dike led the Bluejay offense last weekend with five hits versus Northern Iowa. Including a 4-for-4 effort in the finale. She recorded a triple, double and pair of singles. Freshman Kelsey Allender hit the first home run at the CU Sports Complex of 2013, and her second career homer with a grand slam in game two.

Junior Becca Changstrom remained undefeated in MVC starts at 4-0 and improved to 13-4 overall this season after registering two complete-game wins. She gave up just three earned runs on nine hits through 14 innings in the circle resulting in a 1.50 ERA. Changstrom notched her seventh double-digit strikeout performance in the opener with 11 K's.

Evansville Series Recap: Creighton senior Amy Baker capped off a record-setting week by blasting career home run No. 52 to spark a come-from-behind victory at Evansville March 16 and tie the MVC career home run record.

CU junior Becca Changstrom matched her career high of 13 K's on Friday night in a conference-opening win at Evansville. She struck out 10 Purple Aces in the series finale a day later.

The Bluejays opened the MVC season at 2-1 on the road for the third consecutive season. Creighton also went 2-1 at Evansville to begin the 2011 conference slate before the Jays earned a 2-1 split at Bradley last season.

Rebel Spring Games Recap: The Bluejays went 6-2 at the 2013 Rebel Spring Games March 9-13. The wins increased Creighton’s all-time record at the tourney to 49-9 (.845) in six appearances at the Florida tourney all under current head coach Brent Vigness.

The Bluejays shut out five opponents (Saint Francis (PA), North Dakota, Butler, Fairleigh Dickinson and Army) over the four-day span. The exception was a 6-2 victory over Youngstown State in eight innings after a walk-off grand slam from senior Amy Baker.

One CU loss was a no-hit 5-0 defeat at the hands of Eastern Illinois on March 10. Three days later Creighton dropped a 3-1 decision to Robert Morris.

UTA Maverick Invitational Recap: The Bluejays went 3-2 at the UTA Maverick Invitational in Arlington, Texas, to improve to 8-6 this season. After a pair of wins over host UTA and Lamar on March 1, CU upset then No. 21 Tulsa 4-3 in extra innings on March 2 for its first win over a ranked team since February 2010.

The Bluejays' bats struggled in the final two games of the tourney resulting in losses to Lamar and the host Mavericks. The losses snapped a five-game win streak for the Jays.

Fantastic February Finishes: Creighton finished the month of February with a 5-4 record. It marks the seventh straight season that head coach Brent Vigness has directed the Bluejays to a winning record in the first month of the season.

The Bluejays are 46-24 in February spanning those seven seasons to the beginning of 2007. CU’s 5-4 mark this season is the same record the Jays had in 2010 – the year of the program’s last NCAA Tournament appearance.

Central Arkansas Tournament Recap: The Bluejays went 3-1 at the Central Arkansas Tournament in Conway, Ark., to improve to 5-4 this season. CU’s only loss was to host UCA in its first true road game this season. Creighton outscored opponents 35-16 last weekend. The Bluejays hit .353 as a team over the four games while holding opponents to a .271 average.

The Bluejays are 8-1 all-time at tournaments hosted by Central Arkansas. Creighton went undefeated in five games at the UCA Spring Clash to open the 2007 campaign. The Jays are now 2-1 all-time against UCA with two wins in the 2007 tourney.

Kajikawa Classic Recap: Creighton opened 2013 at the Kajikawa Classic Feb. 7-9 with wins over New Mexico and Oregon State, leading to a 2-3 record. The Bluejays are 5-6 all-time at the Kajikawa Classic following a 3-3 ledger at Tempe in 2010.

Déjà Vu vs. OSU: Creighton’s win over Oregon State on Feb. 8, marked the Jays’ second-straight victory over the Beavers by the same score (5-3) in the same tournament (Kajikawa Classic) at the same location (Tempe, Ariz.), three years apart. CU is now 2-2 against the Pac-12 foe and head coach Brent Vigness is 2-1 versus OSU.

Telecky on Top against Oregon State: Brittany Telecky won her first start of the season in a 5-3 victory over Oregon State. The junior pitched 6 innings against OSU allowing just three runs on eight hits. She also came in as a relief pitcher against San Diego State for two innings, allowing no hits or runs and just one walk.

Season-Opening Salvo: The Bluejays’ season-opening win over New Mexico was Creighton’s third-straight victory to begin a season following opening-day wins in 2011 and 2012.

CU’s first-game win streak matches the longest in program history when the Jays previously won three consecutive openers from 2006-08 and 1998-2000. All three streaks were under the direction of current head coach Brent Vigness.

Creighton is 19-18 overall in season-opening contests including an 11-9 record under head coach Brent Vigness.

Preseason Predictions: The Creighton softball team placed four players on the 2013 preseason all-conference team as the league's coaches picked the Bluejays to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), the league office announced Jan. 23.

The fourth-place prediction is the highest preseason ranking for the Bluejays since 2010 when they were picked to win the Valley. Creighton has finished lower than fourth in the MVC regular season standings just three times in the past 16 seasons.

Senior catcher Amy Baker earned the second All-MVC preseason selection of her career to go with a nod from 2011 during her sophomore campaign. Additionally, three juniors claimed their first preseason honors in designated player and pitcher Alexis Cantu, pitcher Becca Changstrom and outfielder Ellen Homan. All four of the CU honorees earned All-MVC accolades after last season.

The four CU player selections match Southern Illinois for the most on the 2013 preseason squad.  Additionally, the four players on the preseason all-conference team are the most for any Creighton squad dating back to 2004 when three Jays earned All-MVC preseason honors and current assistant Abby Johnson collected honorable mention recognition.

Recapping 2012:  The Bluejays return 11 players from last season's team that compiled a 28-25-1 overall record and finished fifth in the MVC at 15-11. Creighton finished last season with a school-record 294 runs.  CU led the MVC with a .292 batting average, 56 homers, 275 RBI and a .464 slugging percentage. The Jays ranked in the NCAA top-30 in scoring (No. 20), home runs per game (No. 22) and slugging percentage (No. 27) in 2012.

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