NORMAL, Ill. -- Despite a 5-2 advantage in hits, the Creighton Softball team was on the losing end of an 8-0 decision on Sunday. The game was called in the bottom of the fifth inning due to the league' eight-run rule.
Creighton lost its third straight to fall to 26-22-1 (14-9 MVC). ISU won its seventh straight and improved to 32-20 (17-7 MVC).
Creighton squandered a brilliant scoring opportunity in the top of the third. After a lead-off walk to Christa Ruf and singles by Ellen Homan and Allie Mathewson, the Jays had the bases loaded with no outs. But ISU ace pitcher Jordan Birch then struck out the heart of CU's order, getting Alexis Cantu, Amy Baker and Bri Lingl to end CU's hopes of taking its first lead of the series.
The inability to score came back to bite the Bluejays in the fourth inning, when Nichelle Harrison hit her first career homer, a three-run shot, to make it 3-0. All three runs were unearned.
ISU ended the game with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking advantage of four walks by relief pitchers Sammy Snygg and Brittany Telecky. ISU's final four runs came courtesy a bases-loaded error and three bases-loaded walks.
Homan and Blair Lowe each had two hits for CU, while Mathewson had the remaining base-knock. Becca Changstrom suffered the loss, falling to 16-12, despite surrendering just one hit (Harrison's home run) in four innings of work. Cantu, who had reached base in 28 straight games, went 0-for-3 to snap her streak.
Harrison led ISU with four RBI while going 1-for-2 with a walk. Birch (20-12) got the win with a five-hit shutout.
Creighton returns to action next weekend when it hosts Missouri State in its final regular-season series of the year. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is set for Noon at the CU Sports Complex.
SB: Providence at Creighton (5/3/14)
SB: DePaul at Creighton (4/18/14)
Creighton meets Villanova in a 16 inning thriller on the softball diamond.