OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to post a 6-2 win over Drake on Tuesday afternoon.
Creighton improves to 25-19-1 with the victory, and 14-6 in MVC play. The victory, coupled with a loss by Southern Illinois at Evansville, moves the Jays into a tie for second place with two weeks left in league play. Drake falls to 20-25 (11-10 MVC).
Ellen Homan started Creighton on the right foot with a leadoff homer over the 12-foot wall in centerfield. It was Creighton's first leadoff homer since Michelle Koch on May 8, 2010. The Jays made it 2-0 when Blair Lowe's single to right plated Allie Mathewson with her team-high 40th run of the year.
Drake answered in the top of the second with two runs of their own, all with two outs. Jaimie Duffek singled to left and moved to third after walks to Lindsey Vande Wall and Liz Buck. Pinch-hitter Nicole Randel then came through with a two-run single to right to even the score. It was Randel's Valley-leading seventh pinch-hit of the spring.
Creighton's winning rally came in the bottom of the sixth, as a leadoff four-pitch walk to Lowe proved costly. Lowe was bunted to second by Becca Changstrom, the sophomore pitcher's first sacrifice of the year. Lowe would score from second when a fly ball by Liz Dike was dropped by rightfielder Duffek. Dike, who took third on the drop, then came home on a passed ball. After Homan reached on an infield single, Mathewson gave some much-needed insurance with her fifth homer of the year, clearing the fence in right.
Changstrom won her fourth start in eight days, throwing 138 pitches in a complete-game effort. She allowed five hits and four walks, but struck out eight batters to improve to 15-10. Changstrom's 10 wins in MVC play is tied for the league lead in that category.
Homan and Mathewson led CU's offensive attack, as both women went 2-for-4 with a homer and scored twice.
Drake had just five hits, including two from Duffek. Jordan Gronewold threw a complete game and suffered the loss in the circle to fall to 15-18. She struck out 10, but allowed eight hits, and only two of the six runs she permitted were earned.
Creighton will host in-state rival Nebraska (29-17) at 6 pm on Wednesday, with gates to the CU Sports Complex opening at 5 pm.
NOTES: Alexis Cantu's walk in the first inning was her 40th of the year, tying a school-record for one season. Michelle Graner walked 40 times in 2010 ... Creighton has won the season series with Drake, 2-1, after the teams split a doubleheader last week.
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Creighton meets Villanova in a 16 inning thriller on the softball diamond.