OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton softball team claimed its third straight series win to open Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play and remained atop the Valley standings following a 3-2 defeat of Bradley at the CU Sports Complex Sunday.
With the victory, Creighton (21-11, 7-2 MVC) maintained a one-half game advantage over Drake for the MVC lead while Bradley (20-14, 5-3 MVC) dropped to third in the standings.
Creighton led the game from start to finish but the Braves closed to within a run in their final at-bat before the Bluejays secured the win. Sophomore Bri Lingl and junior Blair Lowe led the Jays with a pair of hits apiece. Lowe batted in what turned out to be game-winning run with a bases-loaded single down the left field line in the fifth.
CU junior Becca Changstrom posted her second win of the weekend with a complete-game effort. Changstrom racked up eight strikeouts while allowing two runs on eight hits.
Senior Amy Baker extended her career Creighton and MVC home run record with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. She crushed a solo shot deep over the left field wall for homer No. 54 of her career. The RBI moved her to within one of tying the MVC career runs batted in record. Baker boasts 156 career RBI, one shy of the conference record of 157.
Neither team scored over the next two innings.
In the bottom of the fourth Creighton doubled its lead. A leadoff bunt single from Lowe started the rally followed by fielder’s choice from freshman Kelsey Allender and a sacrifice bunt off the bat of senior Ashley Frutos. With Allender on second and two outs, freshman Kim Jacobson came through as a pinch hitter with a single up the middle to score Allender and give the Jays a 2-0 lead.
Creighton padded its lead in the bottom of the fifth frame. Baker and junior Alexis Cantu drew back-to-back walks with one out to start the inning. Lingl then singled through the left side to load the bases. Lowe followed with her RBI single down the left field line to score Baker for a 3-0 advantage. Bradley made two force-outs at home to end the inning and keep the CU lead at three.
Bradley’s bats came alive in the top of the seventh inning with a pair of singles. Creighton posted two outs before the Braves connected on a double to left center to score both runs.
Changstrom registered her final strikeout of the game to end the BU threat and secure the 3-2 win for Creighton. Changstrom improved to 15-6 on the year with the win.
Creighton concludes a nine-game home stand against South Dakota State on Tuesday. The Bluejays host the Jackrabbits for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. CT that will also serve as Creighton’s StrikeOut Cancer Pink Games this season to promote cancer awareness.