OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton softball completed a three-game sweep of Northern Iowa with a 4-2 victory Saturday at the CU Sports Complex to perch the Bluejays atop the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) standings three weeks into league play.
Creighton (19-9, 5-1 MVC) maintained sole possession of first in the Valley with the victory over UNI (13-19, 3-4 MVC), one-half game ahead of second-place Bradley who swept Indiana State this weekend.
Despite hosting the MVC series, CU served as the designated visiting team in each contest this weekend. The series was originally scheduled to be played in Cedar Falls this weekend, but field conditions forced the three-game set to be moved to Omaha.
Sophomore Liz Dike led the Bluejay offense on the day with four hits off of UNI hurler Jamie Fisher. Dike finished a homer shy of the cycle with a triple, double and a pair of singles. Freshman Kelsey Allender also continued her hot streak at the plate with a pair of singles. Junior Ellen Homan connected on the Jays’ other hit of the day.
Senior Amy Baker posted an RBI to increase her career total to 154. She needs just three more runs batted in to tie the MVC record of 157 held by Illinois State’s Heather Stella since 1999.
CU starting pitcher Becca Changstrom was looking to remain undefeated in Valley play this season and record her fourth consecutive win for the Jays.
After a scoreless first inning, Creighton jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning after a pair of UNI errors.
Freshman Blake Ringle opened the inning with a walk. Classmate Cassie Sharon came on to pinch run for Ringle before a UNI throwing error allowed junior Blair Lowe to reach base with one out on the board. Allender posted an RBI single up the middle to score Sharon.
A double steal by Lowe and Allender produced an errant throw by the Panther catcher, allowing Lowe to score the second run of the game. A sacrifice fly from senior Ashley Frutos brought Allender across the plate for the 3-0 lead.
Northern Iowa got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third frame. A two-out rally consisting of a pair of singles and a walk plated a UNI run to make it 3-1 Creighton heading to the fourth inning.
UNI further closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth following a two-out solo home run from Gina Brown.
Creighton added an insurance run in the top of the sixth. With two outs on the board, Homan and Dike hit back-to-back infield singles to put runners on the corners. A UNI fielding error allowed Baker to reach and score Homan to yield the final 4-2 result.
Changstrom recorded five strikeouts in the complete-game outing and improved to 13-4 on the season with the win.
Creighton continues its nine-game home stand when the Bluejays host in-state rival No. 24 Nebraska at 6 p.m. CT Wednesday at the CU Sports Complex.
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