OMAHA, Neb. - Illinois State captured an 8-1 win over Creighton Sunday afternoon at the Creighton Sports Complex and in doing so clinched its first regular-season Missouri Valley Conference title since 2006. The Bluejays finished sixth in the MVC standings and will face seventh-seeded Wichita State in the upcoming State Farm MVC Tournament in Springfield, Mo.
The Redbirds scored two runs in the first inning off of Bluejay starter Brittany Telecky. The runs snapped Telecky's shutout streak at 18.1 consecutive innings. Both runs scored on back-to-back two-out singles from Liz Andrews and Caiti Kopp.
Illinois State (35-16, 21-5 MVC) added single tallies in both the second and third innings, again scoring with two outs to go ahead 4-0 through three innings.
The Bluejays (24-27, 12-12 MVC) cut into the Redbird lead in the fourth inning, scoring on a bases loaded sacrifice fly off the bat of pinch-hitter McKenna Setlik.
The best-hitting team in the league took advantage of a two-out error by the Bluejays in the fifth inning, scoring three unearned runs among its four runs scored in the inning to take a commanding 8-1 lead.
The Bluejays managed just three hits in the loss, as Jordan Birch (17-5) picked up the win with a complete game for ISU. The junior right-hander struck out 10 and walked two in the win.
Telecky (3-2) pitched 6.2 innings, allowing five earned runs and seven hits, while walking five and striking out four in her longest outing of the season.
Creighton will play Wichita State in the second game of the MVC Tournament on Thursday at 1:30 pm. The winner of that game will advance to play third-seeded Southern Illinois later on Thursday at 6:30 pm. Missouri State plays host to the tournament at Killian Softball Stadium in Springfield, Mo. Eight teams qualify for the MVC postseason, which has returned to single elimination format.