OMAHA, Neb. -- Northern Iowa Softball remained unbeaten in MVC play with a doubleheader sweep at Creighton on Sunday, winning 5-4 and 15-3. The Panthers are now 30-10 and a perfect 14-0 in MVC play. Creighton dropped to 20-18-1 and is 9-5 in Valley action.
Game One (Northern Iowa 5, Creighton 4)
Northern Iowa scored three unearned runs in the top of the seventh to claim game one of the series, 5-4. The contest was the conclusion of Saturday's game that was suspended due to lightning with one out in the second inning.
Both teams scored two runs in the first inning on Saturday.
UNI loaded the bases on two walks and a single against CU ace Becca Changstrom. Changstrom nearly escaped the jam, but a two-out error allowed Mackenzie Daigh and Hannah Borschel to score when Liz Dike dropped a fly ball down the left-field line.
Creighton answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning. Allie Mathewson singled and moved to third on a couple of wild pitches. She would score on Alexis Cantu's single to left-center that also advanced Ellen Homan to third. Homan came around to score on the third wild pitch of the inning from UNI ace Jamie Fisher. Fisher escaped her own jam by striking out Taylor Flodman and Dike.
UNI's Melissa Walls popped out to start the second inning before a bright flash of lightning cleared the field at 12:31 pm. A half-hour later, with the Omaha area in a tornado watch until 7 pm, the decision was made to halt play for the rest of the day.
After play resumed on Sunday, Creighton took the lead in the bottom of the third inning, when Cantu went the opposite way with her Valley-leading 11th home run of the season. The Jays made it 4-2 with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pinch-hitter Blair Lowe singled with one out and was replaced on the bases by Christa Ruf. Ruf stole second base and easily advanced to third on an errant throw from UNI catcher Samantha Reimer. Ruf later scored on Homan's RBI ground out.
Creighton's 4-2 lead in the seventh appeared safe before a trio of fielding mistakes doomed the hosts. With one out, Whitney Plein reached on an error by CU's Sammy Snygg at third base. Changstrom pushed UNI to the brink with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Olivia Aten for the second out. UNI dodged a bullet when Changstrom couldn't field a slow roller back to the circle off the bat of Julia Hunter, advancing Plein to second. Daigh, the Valley's second-leading hitter, singled through the right-side to score Plein. A throw from Mathewson in right to gun down Hunter bounced off the fence, scoring Hunter with the tying run and moving Daigh all the way to third on the play. Daigh then scored on an infield single by Laura Turner, giving UNI a 5-4 lead.
Behind for the first time all day, Creighton got a one-out single from Bri Lingl, before Fisher retired the next two Jays to improve to 15-1 on the year. Fisher allowed seven hits and six walks in her 147-pitch effort. Cantu led CU with two hits and two RBI.
Game Two (UNI 15, Creighton 3)
Northern Iowa scored in all five innings in a 15-3 victory over Creighton in the second game of a doubleheader. The Panthers had season-highs in runs and hits (17), belting three homers and two triples against three Bluejay pitchers.
UNI scored twice in each of the first two innings against Bluejay starter Cantu to post an early 4-0 lead. Cantu was chased with one out in the third inning and the bases loaded, as the lead eventually grew to 7-0 after three frames.
Creighton hit solo homers in the bottom of the third by freshmen Mathewson and Lingl to close within 7-2, but UNI answered with a squeeze bunt by Leah Embrey to make it 8-2 after four frames.
The Panthers eliminated any hopes of a Bluejay comeback with a seven-run fifth inning. The rally featured a bases-loaded triple by Allison Galvin, a two-run homer by Plein and a two-run error off the bat of Borschel.
The Jays managed a run in the bottom of the fifth on Amy Baker's RBI single, but it wasn't enough before the game was called after five innings due the MVC run-rule.
Galvin and Plein each had three hits and three RBI in the nightcap. Plein had two homers and a triple in the contest in support of winning pitcher Jaye Hutcheson (12-7).
Baker had half of CU's four hits, and her fifth-inning RBI tied her for 16th in MVC history with 121 career RBI.
Creighton returns to action on Wednesday with a 3 pm doubleheader at Drake..
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Creighton meets Villanova in a 16 inning thriller on the softball diamond.