Bears Split with Creighton Behind McGinley's Shutout
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Junior pitcher Lauren McGinley’s three-hit, 1-0 shutout of Creighton helped the Bears earn a doubleheader split with the Missouri Valley Conference-leading Bluejays Saturday afternoon at Killian Softball Stadium. After CU notched a 3-0 win in game one behind the pitching of Tara Oltman, the Bears salvaged the second game despite being outhit by the Jays to improve to 19-20 overall and 8-8 in The Valley.
Missouri State produced the only run of the contest in the bottom of the first when Jenna Schwark doubled down the left field line to lead off the game. Brooke Kempker laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Schwark to third before Jessie Smith went down on strikes for just the fifth time this season. However, CU catcher Lauren Larson’s pick-off attempt on Schwark sailed wide of the bag and into left field, allowing Schwark to come home.
McGinley (10-9) allowed just one baserunner through the first three innings and didn’t give up a hit until Michelle Koch led-off the fourth with an infield single. The Bluejays wouldn’t seriously threaten the Bears lead until the sixth, when Liz McKewon led-off with a base hit and Koch reached via a fielding error on a sacrifice attempt to open the frame. However, McGinley worked out of the jam by getting Bailey Dawson and Michelle Graner to fly out following a sac bunt by Renae Sinkler.
The win for the Bears was their first over Creighton in nine tries, dating back to a 4-0 win over the Bluejays at the 2006 MVC Tournament in Omaha.
Creighton (30-13, 16-5 MVC) earned the game one victory behind a complete-game, four-hit effort from Oltman. The Bluejays broke on top early, using a two-out RBI-single by Dawson to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Oltman made the lead stand by retiring 14 of the first 15 batters of the game. The Bluejays’ junior right-hander would strike out six Bears in all in completing her MVC-leading 10th shutout of the season.
The Bears lone scoring threat came in the fifth when, with two out, Bubba Weiss drew a walk, then advanced to second on an infield single by Tyler Porter. But Oltman coaxed a pop-up off the bat of pinch-hitter Taylor Farley to extinguish the rally.
CU added a pair of insurance runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to three runs. Koch’s one-out base hit to left brought home Larson, and Sinkler drove in Jessica Wakasugi with a grounder to short to make it a 3-0 contest.
The Bears and Bluejays will conclude their three-game series Sunday with a Noon contest at Killian.