Softball Bears Topple MVC Power Creighton in Doubleheader Sweep
OMAHA, Neb. -- The Missouri State softball team got a pair of standout performances in the circle to sweep a doubleheader from three-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Creighton Bluejays Friday afternoon at CU Sports Complex. Lauren Supak turned in a complete-game, three-hit effort in a 4-1 game one win, and fellow senior Lauren McGinley held the Bluejay offense in check in the nightcap to hand the Bears a 3-2 victory and their first series win in Omaha since the 1996 season.
The Bears' game one victory snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Bluejays on their home field in MVC regular-season play, and MSU's second win of the day sent the league's preseason favorite to its sixth consecutive defeat, marking CU's longest losing streak in seven years.
Missouri State struck for three runs in the top of the second inning to gain the upper hand in game one, capitalizing on nine straight illegal pitches and four walks combined from Creighton pitchers Tara Oltman and Kylie Hovinga to take a 1-0 lead. Then, with one out, Christa Gammon hit a one-hopper that first baseman Renae Sinkler fielded cleanly and fired home, but Larson couldn't corrall the ball and Raeven Replogle trotted home to make it a 2-0 contest. Two batters later, Jenna Schwark drew a bases-loaded walk from Hovinga to drive in Kirstin Cutter with the Bears' third run of the contest.
Supak took over from that point, holding the Bluejays hitless until Michelle Graner doubled down the leftfield line with two out in the bottom of the fourth. Caitlin Chapin added to the Bears' lead with a solo shot to center in the top of the seventh, stretching MSU's cushion to 4-0. Creighton wouldn't get on the board until Graner belted Supak's first offering of the seventh over the centerfield wall to draw CU to within three.
But Supak (5-4) would retire the next three hitters to wrap up her fourth straight victory, including a strikeout of Emily Perry for her sixth punchout of the afternoon and the final out of the game.
Game two saw the Bluejays jump on top 1-0 courtesy of a Sinkler RBI single to center in the bottom of the third inning. The Bears answered right back, however, getting a solo home run from Schwark on a 3-2 pitch from CU starter Sammy Snygg to lead off the fourth.
The Jays followed with a lead-off homer of their own, as Sara Loeffelholz lined a McGinley pitch over the wall in right-center in the fourth, handing CU a one-run lead once again.Ashley Knehans knotted the score at 2-2 with another homer to start an inning-this time a moon shot to left off Snygg to open the fifth. The Bears would score the deciding run the following inning after Schwark and Chapin kicked off the frame with singles. Hovinga retired the next two hitters, but Replogle then lifted a pop fly to shallow right that Perry bobbled and dropped, allowing Schwark to come around with the go-ahead run.
McGinley (4-7) was solid throughout, allowing just four hits before giving way to Natalie Rose with two out in the seventh and two strikes on Graner. Rose used just two pitches to get the CU third baseman to chase a third strike and close out her second save of the season.
Cutter went 4-for-6 on the afternoon to lead the Bears' offense, while Tyler Porter and Chapin each recorded hits in both games.
The Bears (10-18, 5-3 MVC) and Bluejays (14-15, 2-4 MVC) will wrap up their MVC series with a single game Saturday at noon.