NORMAL, Ill. -- Creighton Softball was swept in a doubleheader on Saturday at Illinois State, falling by scores of 3-1 and 8-3. The Bluejays drop to 26-21-1 (14-8 MVC) and are now alone in fourth place in the MVC standings.
The teams will conclude their three-game series on Sunday with a Noon start from Marian Kneer Softball Stadium in Normal.
Game One (Illinois State 3, Creighton 1)
The Creighton Softball team had its five-game win streak snapped on Saturday with a 3-1 loss in game one of a doubleheader at Illinois State. The Bluejays trailed 3-0 entering the seventh inning and followed Alexis Cantu's 14th homer with three singles to load the bases with one out, but consecutive strikeouts ended the comeback attempt.
Illinois State (30-20, 15-7 MVC) leap-frogged Creighton (26-20-1, 14-7 MVC) and Southern Illinois (31-15, 14-7 MVC) to move into second place in the MVC standings, while the Jays and Salukis are now one-half game back in a tie for third.
Creighton's lone run came in the top of the seventh, when Cantu went deep with one out and no one on. Amy Baker, Bri Lingl and Blair Lowe followed with singles to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Brittnie Kreiser went down on strikes for the second out, as did Liz Dike for the third out to end it after a prolonged at-bat.
Illinois State wasted no time getting on the board early, as Jhavon
Hamilton led off the bottom of the first with her 10th home run of the
ISU made it 3-0 in the fifth inning thanks to Laura Canopy's bases-loaded single that scored a pair. She would later be doubled off first-base.
Jordan Birch improved to 19-12 with the complete-game win, striking out eight Bluejays and pitching out of trouble all day. She allowed nine Creighton hits and a season-high five walks, but also stranded 13 Bluejays on the basepaths. CU's 13 LOB tied a season-high for a seven-inning game.
Creighton's Becca Changstrom (16-11) suffered the rare setback, as her five-game win streak was also snapped. She allowed four hits and six walks while also striking out six.
Creighton's offense was paced by a career-high three hits from Lowe, while Ellen Homan also had a pair of hits.
Game Two (Illinois State 8, Creighton 3)
Illinois State completed the doubleheader sweep with an 8-3 win in the nightcap, despite Creighton home runs from Bri Lingl and Amy Baker.
Just as they did in the opener, ISU scored in the bottom of the first and would never trail. ISU opened the game with a walk, bunt single and RBI single by Lauren Kellar. A single by Caiti Kopp made it 2-0.
Creighton answered in the top of the second with Lingl's eighth homer of the season, cutting the deficit in half.
ISU scored two more in the third frame, again benefitting from a leadoff walk, before Kopp's two-run double made it 4-1.
Creighton narrowed the gap once again, this time to 4-3, in the top of the fourth frame. After a leadoff single by Alexis Cantu, Baker hit her eighth homer of the year. The round-tripper ended the day for ISU starter Megan Warner, who was replaced by Sophia Perez.
Perez (3-0) would shut down the Jays the rest of the way, holding the Jays to just two hits and striking out five to earn the victory.
ISU scored an unearned run in the fourth and three more in the sixth to seal the sweep.
Baker was the only Bluejay with multiple hits in the nightcap, part of a 3-for-6 day that saw her raise her batting average to .369. Ellen Homan and Blair Lowe also had three hits on the day.
NOTES: Alexis Cantu was walked in the top of the third inning in game one for the 41st time this season, breaking Michelle Graner's single-season walks record at Creighton. She ended the day with 43 walks ... Cantu has now reached base in 28 straight games, CU's longest streak since at least 1999 ...Creighton's three homers today give the Jays 31 round-trippers in MVC play this year, most in program history ... Amy Baker's 46 RBI this year are tied for second-most in CU single-season history with her total own from 2010 ... Baker's 125 career RBI are tied for 11th in MVC history.