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Ellen Homan
Courtesy: Eric Francis

Softball Hosts Evansville To Begin Stretch Run In MVC Play

Creighton Hosts Evansville To Begin Stretch Run In MVC Play
Saturday/Sunday, April 21-22 • CU Sports Complex  • Omaha, Neb. • Noon (DH) on Sat.; Noon on Sun.

This Weekend:  Creighton hosts seven of its final 10 MVC games, beginning with a three-game homestand this weekend vs. Evansville. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at Noon before closing the three-game set with a Sunday game that begins at Noon.
    Evansville station WUEV will be broadcasting all three games in the series on-line at Tom Benson and Jen McKee will be on the call.

Midweek Recap:  Creighton split two games in Des Moines on Wednesday, beating Drake 5-2 in the opener before falling 2-0 in the nightcap.

Scouting Creighton (21-19-1, 10-6 MVC): Creighton jumped out to the second-best start in school history this spring, winning its first seven games before playing five games against ranked opponents in an eight-game span ... The Bluejay offense has scored at least 10 runs in a game 10 times this year and its 5.98 runs per game is its highest scoring average in 34 years ... CU leads the MVC with 41 homers, 230 RBI and 245 runs ... The Jays rank in the NCAA top-25 in scoring (15th), slugging percentage (24th) and homers per game (24th) ... Junior Amy Baker is second in the MVC with 42 RBI, and is fourth in on-base percentage (.500), fifth in batting average (.363), and sixth with a .584 slugging percentage and six homers. She ranks second in CU history with 39 career home runs and is tied for third with 121 RBI ... Freshman Allie Mathewson is 12th in the MVC with a .338 batting average. She ranks third in the league in hits (46) and runs (38), and leads the team and is eighth in the MVC in stolen bases (13) ... Freshman Bri Lingl is hitting .467 in MVC play and ranks in the top-three in the MVC in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, hits, RBI, total bases and sacrifice flies in league contests ... Newcomer Alexis Cantu (.344) leads the MVC with 12 homers, 38 walks and a .774 slugging percentage, while also going 6-4 in 52.2 innings in the circle ... Cantu is hitting .563 with six homers, 13 RBI, a 1.750 slugging percentage and .731 on-base percentage in the last seven games ... Sophomore right-hander Becca Changstrom is 12-10 and leads the team with a 2.46 ERA, 128.0 innings pitched and 126 strikeouts. Changstrom is 7-3 with a 0.86 ERA in her last 10 outings, spanning 65.1 innings, striking out 69 and allowing 48 hits in that span ... The Jays field at a .958 rate and own a 3.66 team ERA with four shutouts.

Scouting Evansville (13-28, 4-13 MVC): Evansville snapped a five-game losing streak by sweeping a Thursday doubleheader vs. Saint Louis, winning 5-3 and 5-2. ... Three of UE’s four Valley wins have been on the road, including a series win at Illinois State on April 6-7 ... Evansville hasn’t scored more than five runs in any of its last 27 games, while Creighton averages 6.0 runs per game ... Kayla Fortner is the only Purple Aces player hitting over .290, batting a robust .381 ... Fortner also leads or is tied for the team lead with 45 hits, nine doubles, four homers, 27 RBI and 17 walks ... Amy Gaertner owns four homers and 24 RBI and is hitting .277 ... Katie Sears is hitting .289 and paces the club with six hit-by-pitch and 12 stolen bases ... Sarah Patterson leads UE’s pitching staff with a 3.55 ERA, a 7-14 record and 92 strikeouts ... The Purple Aces own a 3.84 ERA and field at a .957 clip.

Head Coach: Head coach Brent Vigness (Central College, 1988) is in his 19th season at Creighton. With a record of 599-422-3 at Creighton, he is the winningest coach in Bluejay athletics history in any sport. Vigness also served as head coach at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., for five years prior to coming to Creighton. His career record in 24 years as a head coach is 747-493-3. The most tenured softball coach in school history has led the Jays to six MVC Tournament titles (1999, 2003-05, 2007, 2010), six regular-season MVC crowns (1998-2000, 2007-09), seven NCAA Tournament appearances (1999, 2003-05, 2007-08, 2010) and was named MVC Coach of the Year in 1998 and guided the MVC Coaching Staffs of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

CU-UE Series: Creighton leads the all-time series with Evansville, 32-18, and has not lost the season series since 2004. The Bluejays are 16-4 versus the Purple Aces since the 2004 MVC Tournament, including a 6-2 record in Omaha.
    Creighton has experienced mild success in recent seasons against returning Purple Aces hurlers Taylor Perry, Kendall Kautz and Emily Morris, as seen below:
Creighton vs. Kautz
Kreiser    1-3
Ruf    2-8, HR, BB, 2 RBI, 2 SO
Homan    1-4
Michael    1-5, HR, RBI, SO
Baker    1-8, HR, BB, HBP, RBI

Creighton vs. Morris
Kreiser    0-0, SAC
Baker    0-0, BB
Setlik    0-1, SO
Homan    0-1

Creighton vs. Perry
Homan    2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SO
Ruf    1-2, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI
Baker    1-3, BB, RBI, SO
Setlik    1-3, SO
Frutos    0-0, 2 SAC
Perry    0-0, SB
Kreiser    0-3, BB, SO

Chasing 600
Brent Vigness enters this weekend with 599 wins at Creighton, just one shy of 600. Vigness’ 599 victories are more than any Creighton coach in any sport in school history.
Milestone Wins For Vigness at Creighton
Record    Date    Milestone
1-0    2/18/94    First win at CU for Vigness
100-100    4/24/97    100th win (at UMKC)
200-168    5/6/00    200th win (vs. Evansville)
300-252    3/12/04    300th win (vs. Holy Cross)
400-305-1    2/17/07    400th win (at C. Arkansas)
500-335-2    4/4/09    500th win (vs. Bradley)
599-412-3        Record entering Saturday

Valley Peak
With 10 games still to play, Creighton’s offense in MVC action already ranks among the best the program has ever seen. Below is a look of Creighton’s offense in MVC games since the 2000 season, with the best marks in each category in bold.
Year    MVC W-L    AVG    R    HR    SB
2012    10-6    .313    111    24    17
2011    12-12    .262    77    15    19
2010    18-7    .274    124    29    13
2009    19-6    .241    72    15    15
2008    21-3    .289    104    25    16
2007    19-4-1    .284    109    27    20
2006    10-13    .251    64    14    12
2005    19-8    .256    90    17    34
2004    17-8    .259    96    19    16
2003    14-12    .250    96    26    28
2002    18-7    .317    135    13    20
2001    16-10    .272    109    22    17
2000    11-7    .273    61    6    8

The Best Around
Creighton owns 99 wins in MVC play since the start of 2007. That figure is tops in the Valley in that span, just ahead of Illinois State and Southern Illinois.
Most MVC Wins, Since 2007
Creighton    99-38-1   
Illinois State    97-42-1   
Southern Illinois    96-33
Drake    73-63
Northern Iowa    69-68
Wichita State    67-78
Missouri State    62-71
Evansville    47-94
Bradley    42-95
Indiana State    35-101

Strikeout Artist
Becca Changstrom tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts in game one of Creighton's series with UNI, then had three more Wednesday at Drake. That gives her 301 punchouts in her career, enough to push her from eighth to sixth in CU history.
    With eight strikeouts this weekend, Changstrom can move to fifth place, passing current Missouri State head coach and former Bluejay student-athlete Holly Hesse's 308 form 1979-82.

Give Me Four
Creighton averages 6.0 runs per game this season, a number that surges to 6.9 per Valley contest.
    Since Evansville joined the MVC in 1995, Creighton is 21-1 versus the Purple Aces when scoring four runs or more. That includes 12 straight wins since dropping a 5-4 extra-inning game on April 5, 2003.

If At First You Don’t Succeed...
One reason for Creighton’s increased offensive attack is the production its getting from its first basemen.
    This year’s Bluejay first basemen are hitting a collective .323, with five home runs, five stolen bases and 35 RBI.
    By comparison, last year Creighton’s first basemen combined to hit .196 (18-92) with four homers, one stolen base and 11 RBI.

Power Players
Creighton leads the MVC with 41 home runs this year, three more than the team compiled all of last season. Each of the previous five times the Jays have slugged 40 round-trippers in a season, Creighton has made the NCAA Tournament, as seen below:
Year    HR    NCAA’s?    MVC Titles
2012    41    TBD    TBD
2010    66    Yes    Tourney
2008    47    Yes    Regular-Season
2007    57    Yes    Reg.-Season & Tourney
2004    42    Yes    Tourney
2003    43    Yes    Tourney

High & Tight
Creighton was hit by five pitches in five innings during the second game of its series vs. UNI. It came on the four-year anniversary of the last time the Jays were beaned five times in one game, as it happened at Drake on April 15, 2008.

Rare Blown Lead
Dating to last year Creighton had won 22 straight games when leading after six innings before squandering a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning last Sunday vs. Northern Iowa.
    It was just the third time in the last 10 seasons that CU had lost a game in which it led with two outs in the seventh inning.
    Since 2007, Creighton had been 135-3 (.978) when leading heading to the seventh inning, and  224-11 (.953) since 2003 in those situations.
     In addition, Creighton had outscored foes 24-1 in the seventh inning this season prior to UNI's three-run outburst on Sunday.

Can’t Miss Kid
Alexis Cantu had one of the biggest offensive games in MVC history in an April 6 game two win at Wichita State.  She went 4-for-4 with three homers and eight RBI in a 14-4 win, while also throwing a complete game. Cantu's three homers are tied for third in NCAA single-game history, while her eight RBI are tied for 19th in NCAA history. In addition, her 13 total bases are tied for seventh in NCAA history. All three figures tied or set MVC single-game records.
    Cantu was named MVC Player of the Week on April 9th after hitting .421 in six games last week, adding four homers, seven runs and 11 RBI in her big week.
    She also hurled two complete games in the circle, holding teams to a 1.87 ERA and surrendering just eight hits in 15 innings of work.

NCAA Stat Leaders: Creighton is 15th in runs per game (6.15), 24th in slugging percentage (.472), 24th in homers per game (1.03) and 41st in batting average (.299).
    Alexis Cantu ranks eighth nationally in walks per game (0.90), 19th in on-base percentage (.538), 41st in homers per game (0.28) and 59th in RBI per game (0.90). Amy Baker ranks 22nd in RBI per game (1.08) and is 62nd in walks per game (0.67).  Allie Mathewson is 37th in runs per game (0.97).
    Becca Changstrom is 75th in strikeouts per seven innings (7.1).

Surpassing 10: Creighton has scored at least 10 runs in a game 10 times already this season.  The 2011 team scored 10 runs in a game just once and the Bluejays have already scored 10 or more runs in a game more this season than in the previous three seasons combined.
    Creighton’s 15 runs on April 7th at Wichita State matched the program’s highest-scoring 3-game MVC series all last season (at Bradley).
    Creighton’s 39 runs in the series vs. Wichita State were its highest scoring series against any MVC opponent since the league went to 3-game series in 2001.
    Creighton hadn’t scored 10 runs in consecutive games vs. an MVC foe since April 28, 2007, when it scored 10 runs in two straight games vs. Northern Iowa.
    Creighton hadn’t scored 14 or more runs in consecutive games since 1978.

Going, Going, Gone: Creighton hit 10 home runs in a three-game series at Wichita State. The Bluejays hit four homers in both games on April 6th, then hit two more on April 7th.
    The April 6th doubleheader marked the first time in program history that CU hit four homers or more in consecutive contests.
    Creighton started the series with three homers in the top of the first inning, as Allie Mathewson, Bri Lingl and Sammy Snygg all went yard. It was the second time this season the Jays homered three times in the same frame, having also done so in the second inning vs. Howard on March 4 when Liz Dike, Mathewson and Amy Baker all homered.

High in the Valley: Creighton is 10-6 through 16 MVC games this spring, as the Bluejays are hitting .313 and have scored 111 runs in their first 16 Valley games. By comparison, Creighton scored 77 runs in 24 conference games last year.
• Creighton is slugging at a .528 rate and owns an on-base percentage of .408 in Valley play. Eight different women have homered at least once in league action.
• Two newcomers have helped the Jays lead the way in league play. Freshman Bri Lingl has reached base safely in all 16 games, while sophomore transfer Alexis Cantu has reached in CU’s past 15 Valley contests.
    Lingl and Cantu have combined for 42 RBI in Creighton’s 16 MVC games, good for more than 2.6 RBI per game. The duo also own a combined 13 homers in Valley tilts.

Slammin’ Sammy: Junior Sammy Snygg had the best offensive week of her career at Wichita State on April 6-7, hitting .357 with two homers and five RBI in six games, while also scoring six times last week. She also pitched once, throwing six innings and allowing just two earned runs (2.33 ERA).
    Snygg began her week just 8-for-85 (.094) in 100 career games with one homer and two RBI.  In her big series, she nearly doubled these totals, going 5-for-11 at the plate. She homered twice in game one of Friday's doubleheader. Then in the third game, Snygg went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs and three RBI, in addition to her first career stolen base.
    Snygg, who also owns a 3.77 GPA in Exercise Science, was named MVC/Prairie Farms Scholar-Athlete of the Week on April 11th.

Inside Job: Lincoln native Liz Dike leads all MVC freshmen with six home runs this season, with four coming in Valley play.
    Dike homered in each of the last two games of the Wichita State series. Her round-tripper on Saturday was an inside-the-park job, her second of the year. Dike also hit an inside-the-park homer on Feb. 19th at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
    Dike, who enrolled at Creighton in January and should still be a high school senior, has started all 39 games at shortstop this season for the Jays. She’s on pace to be the first Bluejay infielder since 2009 to start every game at the same position.

In A Pinch: Sophomore Brittnie Kreiser has developed into one of the most dangerous pinch-hitters in the country of late. She’s been called on to pinch-hit 18 times this year, and has reached base safely seven times. Kreiser owns 10 RBI as a pinch-hitter this year.
    Kreiser owns an RBI in five of her last 10 pinch-hit appearances, going 4-for-9 with a sacrifice fly and eight RBI off the bench.
    Kreiser and Blair Lowe share the MVC lead with five pinch-hits this season.
    By comparison, Creighton owned 11 pinch-hit RBI as a team last year, including two from Kreiser.
    Below is a list of Creighton’s players in pinch-hitting situations this season:
Blair Lowe    .385, 5-13, 2B, 3 RBI
Brittnie Kreiser    .333, 5-15, 1 HR, 10 RBI
McKenna Setlik    .182, 2-11, 3 runs, 2 RBI
Becca Changstrom    ---, 0-0, HBP, RBI
MaKenzie Michael    .000, 0-9
Taylor Flodman    .000, 0-4
Bri Lingl    .000, 0-3   
Emily Perry    .000, 0-1

Happy  Homecoming: Creighton played its first 25 games on the road this year before opening its home schedule with a doubleheader sweep of South Dakota State on March 28th.
    The Jays won 4-1 and 15-1, with the 15-run outburst serving as the highest scoring home game for the Bluejays since opening the 2000 season by scoring a school-record 20 runs against College of Saint Mary (Neb.).  It was the third straight season CU swept its home-opening doubleheader.

Can’t Keep Her Off Base: Sophomore Alexis Cantu has reached base safely in each of Creighton’s last 21 games. Since 1999, the Jays have had just one streak that has been longer, as current volunteer assistant coach Renae Sinkler reached in 26 straight in 2008.

Changstrom Heats Up: Sophomore pitcher Becca Changstrom has regained the form she displayed as a freshman, when she was a second-team all-MVC selection. In her last 10 appearances, Changstrom has allowed just eight earned runs in 65.1 innings of work, good for a 0.86 ERA. She’s 7-3 in those appearances, striking out 69 and allowing just 48 hits.

Baker’s Dozens: Junior Amy Baker owns 42 RBI so far this season, making her just the third player in Creighton history with multiple seasons of 40 or more RBI.
    The only others in that elite category are two of her assistant coaches, Abby Johnson and Renae Sinkler.
    Baker ranks tied for third in CU history with 121 RBI, matching Stacey Rybar and Bailey Dawson on that list. That figure is among the top-20 marks in MVC career history, as well.

Baker’s Climb:  Junior Amy Baker leads the MVC with 42 RBI in 41 games this spring (after leading the team with 33 RBI in 53 games last year).
    With six home runs this year, she now has 39 homers in her career, trailing only current volunteer assistant coach Renae Sinkler’s school record 50 home runs.
    Baker is tied for 16th in MVC history with 121 career RBI, and is within reach to set the MVC career record of 157 RBI, currently held by Illinois State’s Heather Stella (1996-99).

Offensive Explosion:  Creighton is 10-6-1 in its last 17 games thanks to a balanced offensive effort. Nine different women have homered in those 17 games, with seven of them owning multiple homers.
    As a team, Creighton owns 24 homers and 105 runs in the last 17 games, hitting .287, slugging .473 and an on-base percentage of .402. Creighton has also stolen 19-of-20 bases successfully in those games.
    Sophomore Amy Baker has hit .419 with three homers and 14 RBI in that time, while Alexis Cantu is hitting .429 with seven homers and 18 RBI, in addition to 16 walks. Cantu’s slugging at a .976 clip and has an on-base percentage of .613 in those 17 games.

Cantu Crushes Record:  Sophomore Alexis Cantu hit a tape-measure shot home run against South Dakota (March 28) for her sixth home run of the year.  In crushing the towering deep fly, she set a Creighton record for home runs hit by a left-handed batter in a single-season, topping the five hit by Jessica German in 2007. Cantu leads the MVC with 12 homers this season.

Cheaper By The Dozen: Creighton has twice scored 10 or more runs in an inning this season, including a high of 12 runs in the third inning on March 31st vs. Indiana State. The 12-run inning is tied for 19th in NCAA history for runs scored in an inning. Creighton’s 17-run inning vs. College of Saint Mary’s (Neb.) on Feb. 9, 2000, is the school record, and was also done in the third inning.

Offensive Bounce Back: The Bluejays are hitting .293 as a team, a mark that would rank fifth in school history if the season ended today, and is the highest mark by a Creighton team since the 1995 team hit .298. 
    CU scored 184 runs in 53 games in 2011, an average of 3.5 per game. This year the Bluejays have already scored 245 runs in 41 games, an average of 6.0 runs per game (third-highest average in school history). 
    CU’s slugging percentage of .462 is up 94 points from last year’s .368. Creighton’s on-base percentage of .391 currently ranks as third-best in school history, just behind the 1990’s team-record .398 on-base percentage.

Walk this Way: Sophomore Alexis Cantu  leads the MVC with 12 home runs, and also leads the MVC and ranks eighth in the NCAA with 38 walks this season.  Cantu has walked (38) more this year than she has struck out (29) and is two free passes shy of tying Michelle Graner’s single-season walks record of 40, set in 2010.
• Junior Amy Baker ranks second on the team with 28 walks, compared to only 18 strikeouts.  Baker, a junior, has already walked 71 times in her career, fifth-most in CU history.

Doubling Up: Last year Creighton managed to hit only 25 doubles in 53 games, its lowest total since 1992. This season the Bluejays have already smacked 46 doubles in 41 games.  Junior Amy Baker leads the team with seven two-baggers after she hit just one double as a sophomore – in the 52nd of 53 games.

Tripling Up: Not only are doubles up for Creighton this year, but triples are also up.  The Bluejays have eight triples this year, more than in any of its previous three full seasons.  Senior outfielder Christa Ruf and freshman shortstop Liz Dike each have two triples to lead the Bluejays this year.

Hot Start: Creighton jumped out to a 7-0 start this season for its best start to a season since 1987. The 1987 team opened the year with 10 straight wins to set a school record, while the seven straight wins to open the year marked the best start to a season under head coach Brent Vigness.  The Bluejays opened the year with an 18-0 win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, setting a CU record for the largest victory margin in a game.

Record-Tying Game: In one of Creighton’s high-scoring games this season, the Bluejays tied a school record.  The Jays topped Howard 19-4 on March 4 in Tempe, Ariz., tying the school record with 22 hits in the lopsided win.  The 19 runs rank second in school history, just one shy of the 20 runs scored against the College of Saint Mary (Neb.) on Feb. 9, 2000.

No Tying in Softball?: Creighton played to just the third tie in program history when its April 3rd game at South Dakota State was halted after nine innings due to darkness with the score knotted at 1-1. Creighton’s previous ties came in 2004 at Kansas (darkness) and in 2007 vs. Illinois State (rain after five innings). Creighton would go on to win the MVC Tournament in both 2004 and 2007.

Call From The Hall: Creighton great Jody Schwartz Longballa was inducted into Creighton’s Athletic Hall of Fame on April 9th.
    Playing under her maiden name Jody Schwartz, she was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 1988, when she hit .340 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI to go with a .989 fielding percentage. She was also 10-5 in the circle with a 1.14 ERA and 12 complete games in 17 starts.
    She twice led the team in home runs and slugging percentage, and led the team in total bases three times. She finished her years at Creighton as the Bluejays’ career leader with 36 doubles, 113 RBI and 78 walks in a school-record 222 games played, all of which still rank in the Bluejay top-10.
    Creighton went 151-71 in her four seasons, including a fifth-place finish in the 1986 Women’s College World Series, and the 1988 squad began a run of three straight trips to the NCAA Regionals.
Jays Video
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.
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