Creighton Rallies to Take Rubber Match from Bears, 4-3
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Creighton scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to rally past the Missouri State softball team for a 4-3 win Sunday afternoon at Killian Stadium. Ellen Homan tripled home the tying run, then scored the game winner on Christa Ruf's sacrifice squeeze to hand the Bluejays the 2-1 series victory.
Facing a 3-2 deficit going into the seventh, Danai Martin started the Jays on the comeback trail by one-hopping an 0-2 Natalie Rose pitch over third baseman Heather Duckworth's head into left. Becca Changstrom moved Martin over to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Homan followed with a hard liner into the gap in left center that allowed her to advance all the way to third while Martin came home with the tying run.
Ruf then laid down a squeeze bunt on an 0-1 pitch and Homan scored the go-ahead run easily.
The Bluejays' rally made a winner out of Changstrom (12-7), who worked out of several jams en route to a 164-pitch complete-game victory. The freshman--who retired three straight Bears on just five pitches in the seventh to close out the win--walked five and allowed four hits, but was able to strand 11 Bears baserunners while giving up just two earned runs on the afternoon.
Missouri State missed out on a number of critical opportunities to add to their run total, going hitless in three at-bats with the bases loaded. In all, the Bears stranded at least two runners on base in four different innings and left the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings.
The Bears staked Rose to a two-run lead by taking advantage of some early wildness from Changstrom, who walked three batters and hit another in the first inning. Kirstin Cutter coaxed ball four from Changstrom to lead-off the inning and Tyler Porter moved her over to second with a sacrifice to set the table. Next, Jenna Schwark ran the count full before drawing a base on balls, and Lauren Eisenreich laced a single up the middle to drive in Cutter with the first run of the contest. Ashley Knehans absorbed a Changstrom pitch with the bases full to bring in Schwark for a 2-0 MSU margin.
Creighton (16-17, 6-3 MVC) promptly answered with a two-spot of its own in the top of the second to even the score. Ashley Frutos and Jennifer Bohle got the ball rolling with back-to-back one-out singles, and pinch-hitter MaKenzie Michael loaded the bases with an infield single. Changstrom battled Rose through an 11-pitch at-bat before finally getting the best of the Bears' right-hander to drive in both Frutos and Bohle with a well-placed base hit deep in the hole between second and first.
But the Bears answered in their half of the second to reclaim the lead after a pair of costly Bluejay errors. With one out, Cutter hit a routine bouncer to short, but reached base when Bohle threw wildly to first. Porter followed with an infield single, and both runners moved into scoring position when Liz McKewon's throw skipped past the bag. Schwark once again worked the count full against Changstrom before hitting a ground ball to second that gave Cutter plenty of time to cross the plate to make it a 3-2 ball game.
In addition to her work in the circle, Changstrom led CU's offense with a 2-for-2 day at the plate.
Cutter paced the Bears' attack with a hit, a walk and two runs scored. Rose (10-14) was saddled with the loss after giving up all four CU runs on eight hits in a complete-game effort.
The Bears (15-17, 5-6 MVC) will close out their five-game home stand at Killian Stadium with a doubleheader against UMKC Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m.