TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Creighton softball team won both games of a doubleheader against host Indiana State, claiming game one 3-1 before posting a 16-5 victory in five innings at the Sycamores’ Price Field Saturday afternoon.
Creighton (23-11, 9-2 MVC) claimed its fourth straight series win to begin conference play. The Bluejays will go for the sweep of Indiana State (14-26, 3-11 MVC) in the series finale slated for Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. CU remains a half-game ahead of second-place Drake in the MVC standings as the Bulldogs swept Illinois State in a home doubleheader.
Nine different Bluejays notched a hit on the day including six with two or more. Junior Blair Lowe led the bats with five hits while senior Amy Baker, sophomore Liz Dike and freshman Blake Ringle had three hits apiece. Those four players also accounted for the Jays’ five homers on the day, with Baker claiming two.
CU outscored ISU 19-6 on the day. The Jays posted 21 hits including 11 extra-base efforts. Creighton batted .382 at the plate with a slugging percentage of .764.
The Jays’ pitching staff combined for a pair of complete-game wins while striking out 15 Sycamores. CU starters held Indiana State to a .233 average at the plate.
In game one, junior Becca Changstrom started in the circle for Creighton. The Jays’ batters went up against Halle Humphrey.
Indiana State got on the board first with a two-out solo home run to left field to put the host Sycamores up 1-0 after one.
That lead held until the top of the third inning. Senior Sammy Snygg was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Lowe reached on a bunt single to put two on. A sacrifice bunt from Dike moved up the runners. A walk to junior Alexis Cantu loaded the bases.
Sophomore Bri Lingl then hit a deep fly ball to center field that was mishandled by ISU allowing all three runners to score unearned. Lingl was thrown out at third base to end the inning after giving the Bluejays a 3-1 lead in the third.
Indiana State threatened with runners in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth and Creighton left the bases loaded in the seventh but the 3-1 score held up for the final.
Changstrom improved to 16-6 on the year with the win while Humphrey fell to 4-9.
Cantu started in the circle for the Bluejays in game two while Ashli Scott started for ISU.
Creighton exploded for five runs in the top of the first inning of game two and led the rest of the way. CU scored in each of the five innings to put away the Sycamores.
Lowe led off the first inning with a single through the left side. Dike followed with an infield single. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch before Cantu helped her cause with a two-RBI double that put CU up 2-0.
Two batters later Ringle drilled a home run over the fence in center to make it 4-0 Creighton. Freshman Katie Pascuzzi reached on an ISU error. She later stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. A single from classmate Kelsey Allender brought in Pascuzzi for the final score of the inning with the Bluejays ahead 5-0.
Dike opened the second inning with a solo home run to right center, her third of the season, to give CU a 6-0 lead.
Indiana State got on the board in the bottom of the frame. A solo home run opened the inning to make it 6-1. A one-out walk, a stolen base and a single by ISU accounted for the other run to cut the Jays’ lead to 6-2 after two innings.
Pascuzzi drew a one-out walk for the Bluejays in the top of the third. After a groundout moved her to second Pascuzzi scored on a slide at home plate after a single from senior Ashley Frutos. With CU up 7-2, Lowe entered the batter’s box with one on and two outs. She delivered her first homer of the season, second of her career, over the wall in right center to put Creighton up 9-2.
ISU answered with two in the bottom of the inning. A single and a Creighton error placed a Sycamore at second before a two-out homer cleared the bases to cut the CU lead to 9-4 after three innings.
Baker opened the CU fourth with a towering home run deep over the right field wall to give Creighton a 10-4 advantage. Cantu and Lingl followed with back-to-back walks. Pascuzzi came through again with a one-out double to plate two more runs for a 12-4 Bluejay lead.
Indiana State scored its final run in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out homer that made it 12-5 after four complete.
Abbie Malchow replaced Scott in the circle for ISU but the CU bats kept rolling in the fifth frame.
Lowe opened with a single then Dike followed with a double to right center to put two in scoring position. Baker delivered another home run, No. 15 this season, to clear the bases and give Creighton a 15-5 lead. A two-out single by Ringle kept the CU rally going. Junior MaKenzie Michael came on to pinch run for Ringle at first. She advanced to second on a wild pitch before Pascuzzi ripped a double to left center to score the final run of the game.
Cantu moved to 6-4 on the year with the win while Scott fell to 5-8.
Creighton and Indiana State conclude the three-game series in a contest slated for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday at Price Field. A CU win in the finale keeps the Bluejays in first place atop the MVC standings.
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.