LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville finished a three-game sweep of the Creighton softball team by taking two from the Bluejays on Saturday at Ulmer Stadium, winning the opener 7-0 and completing the sweep with a 4-0 win in the night cap. The 18th-ranked Cardinals did not allow a run on the weekend, handing Creighton three straight shutouts for the first time since 1995.
The sweep keeps the nationally-ranked Cardinals perfect on the year, improving to 12-0 for their best start in program history. Creighton, which stranded 10 runners in the series finale, is now 7-3 on the season after jumping out to a 7-0 start for the first time since 1987.
In the opener, Louisville pitching held Creighton without a hit until the sixth inning for the second straight game and Cardinal pitcher Chelsea Leonard tied her career-high and the school record with 16 strikeouts in the one-hitter.
The Cardinals went ahead 1-0 in the first inning, as a two-out error by MaKenzie Michael at third base kept the inning alive and Bluejay starter Sammy Snygg forced in the first run of the game on a bases loaded walk.
Louisville added to its lead with a four-run second inning. Hannah Kiyohara walked and Whitney Arion singled to start the inning, while RBI hits from Kristin Austin and Katie Keller keyed the four-run frame.
Meanwhile, the first seven outs of the opener recorded by Louisville were Leonard strikeouts. The Bluejays did not manage a hit until the sixth inning for the second straight day. Christa Ruf broke up the no-hit bid with one out in the sixth with a single.
The Cardinals scored single runs in the third and fourth inning, with the final run coming on a leadoff home run from Taner Fowler in the fourth. That blast chased Snygg from the circle, making way for Brittany Telecky. The sophomore right-hander allowed only one hit in three scoreless innings of relief for the Bluejays.
Snygg allowed nine hits and six earned runs in three full innings of work to drop to 2-1 on the season. Leonard improved to 3-0 with the shutout, striking out 16 and walking two in the one-hitter for Louisville.
In the series finale, Creighton put together scoring threats in each of the first three innings, but failed to push across a run. Ellen Homan had a one out double and Alexis Cantu walked with two outs in the first inning, but they were both left stranded.
Louisville plated a run in the bottom of the first inning and Creighton responded by putting two runners on again in the second inning. Taylor Flodman singled to leadoff the inning and moved to second on a one-out walk to Liz Dike, but both were on base when the inning ended. Two more Bluejay runners were left on base in the third inning.
Creighton was finally set down in order in the fourth inning, and the Cardinals took advantage of a two-out error in the bottom of the frame to score three unearned runs and take a 4-0 lead.
The Jays stranded two more runners on base in both the fifth and seventh innings, as they were blanked in three straight games for the first time since May 5-11, 1995.
Cantu (2-1) pitched the first four innings in game two, allowing seven hits and just one earned run. Becca Changstrom pitched two scoreless innings of relief to conclude the weekend.
Caralisa Connell (3-0) pitched five innings and allowed four hits in earning the win for Louisville in the night cap.
Homan and Amy Baker each had two hits in the night cap as Creighton managed five hits in the finale after collecting just two hits in the first two games of the series.
The Bluejays will look to end their three game losing streak when they start their Spring Break trip in Tempe, Ariz., next weekend at the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational.
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