CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Creighton singled its way to a 4-3 win at Northern Iowa in the opening game of Saturday afternoon's doubleheader at Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex. The Bluejays smacked nine singles in coming from behind to top the Panthers in the opener, before suffering their first defeat in Cedar Falls since 2001, a 7-2 loss in the second game.
One day after getting shutout by Becca Changstrom, the Panthers (25-23, 9-10 MVC) ensured there would be no repeat of that feat as MacKenzie Daigh led off the bottom of the first inning of game one with a home run to center field off the Bluejay ace. UNI added another run on an RBI single by Eranne Daugharthy and led 2-0 after the first innings.
The Bluejays (20-24, 8-9 MVC) tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning, as Christa Ruf was hit by the first pitch of the inning thrown by UNI starter Jaye Hutcheson. Ellen Homan followed with an infield single that went about three feet from home plate. The pair moved up a base on a passed ball allowed by UNI catcher Courtney Dunker. Ruf scored CU's first run of the game on an RBI single from Liz McKewon and Homan tied the game when she scored on Dunker's second passed ball of the inning. The Panthers turned a double play to end the inning and keep the score knotted at 2-2.
Three singles to start the fifth inning for the Bluejays helped lead to a pair of runs and their first lead of the game. McKewon started the inning with her third hit in as many at bats and moved to third on Amy Baker's single off the right field fence. McKewon scored on McKenna Setlik's pinch-hit RBI single up the middle. Baker would later score on Malloree Grove's bloop single to left field and the Jays were up 4-2.
After allowing two runs in the first inning Changstrom settled in to retired 10 straight and 16 of the next 17 before the Panthers threatened in the seventh inning. With one out in the seventh, the Panthers used a hit batter, a walk and a bloop single to move the score to 4-3 and put the go-ahead run at first base. Changstrom was able to retire Daigh to end the game and earn the Bluejays another Missouri Valley Conference series win.
Changstrom moved to 14-8 with the victory, allowing only four hits in the complete game effort. She walked two and struck out four for her second win in as many games.
McKewon tied her career-high with three hits in the game one win. The senior finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, the only player in the game with multiple hits.
Jaye Hutcheson (5-13) took the loss for UNI, hurling all seven innings, and allowing three earned runs.
In the final game of the series, UNI freshman pitcher Jamie Fisher tamed the Bluejay bats, allowing just one hit through the first five innings, while her teammates built a 7-0 lead.
The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run home run off the bat of Haley Kriener.
UNI plated three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the first on a bases loaded walk to Olivia Aten. MacKenzie Daigh drove in two more on a double and the Panthers led 5-0 after four.
Two more runs from the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh inning pushed their lead to 7-0.
Creighton scored its only runs of the game on a two-run home run by Christa Ruf in the top of the sixth inning. The home run for Ruf was her ninth of the season and her first since April 3.
Fisher, who allowed 11 hits in a loss to Creighton on Friday, surrendered five hits in the complete game win. The rookie right-hander struck out eight and walked none to improve to 16-9 on the year.
Sammy Snygg (1-12) allowed five hits and walked four, while six of the seven runs allowed by the sophomore were earned. Reliever Brittany Telecky pitched the final two innings for the Jays, entering for Snygg in the fifth. The right-hander allowed a pair of inherited runners to score but did not allow a run of her own in two innings of work.
Creighton returns to action on Tuesday when it plays at Drake. The Bluejays and Bulldogs conclude their three-game MVC series with a 4 pm first pitch at Buel Field in Des Moines Tuesday.