CARBONDALE, ILL. — The Creighton softball team played a pair of games that ended during the final at-bat on Friday at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois. The Bluejays defeated Saint Louis, 5-4, in extra innings, before falling 1-0 to Southern Illinois.
Creighton moved its overall season record to 5-6 after Friday’s action.
Ashley Cantu’s fielder’s choice in front of the home plate area drove in Victoria Alvarez from third base during the bottom of the ninth inning as Creighton outlasted Saint Louis, 5-4, in extra innings. Alvarez started the ninth at second base because of international tiebreaker rules and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt before scoring ahead of the Billikens’ attempt to record an out at the plate.
The Bluejays scored the final four runs of the game for the victory.
Creighton tied the game behind the power of a two-run homer of the bat of Kaitlynn Hunt during the bottom of the sixth inning. The junior launched a 2-1 delivery well over the left-field wall for the first home run of her career to tie the game at 4-4.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth, pinch-hitter Nikki McNeil sent a ball to the Billiken shortstop who fired home but Kristin Fry slid in ahead of the tag as the Bluejays scored their second run of the game.
Saint Louis gained its three-run lead on an error, single and double in the top of the fourth. The Billikens sent nine hitters to the plate in the fourth inning and plated four runs off four hits and two Creighton errors while leaving two on base.
Alm led the Bluejay offense with a 2-for-4 showing against SLU.
After going 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning, the Billikens put pressure on Creighton starter Kiele Miller during the next six innings. Saint Louis sent at least five hitters to the plate second through seventh innings and left a total of 14 runners on base. Miller escaped damage in the second and third innings and limited the fourth inning scoring with strikeouts to end each frame with two or more Billikens on base. Creighton recorded a force out at home to end the fifth inning and Cantu tracked down a fly ball in the sixth with the bases loaded and another with runners at first and second in the top of the seventh.
Miller went seven innings and struck out seven while also walking seven and giving up eight hits and four earned runs. The sophomore recorded a career-high 177 pitches (109 strikes).
Laura Roecker came in for relief in the eighth inning and faced only seven batters during two innings of work to earn the victory against SLU.
During the second game of the day, Creighton’s Logan Black and Southern Illinois’ Brianna Jones matched each other through six innings as neither pitcher allowed a run.
The Salukis left two runners on base in the third, three in the fourth and two more in the fifth. SIU ended the third and fourth innings with ground outs to third base before Finan, the Bluejays’ senior third baseman, snagged a liner destined for the left-field corner to end the fifth.
Creighton recorded a single base hit during the first, fourth and fifth innings and had only one runner reach third base.
Southern Illinois walked-off as victors following a three-base error and fielder’s choice. The Salukis Maddy Vermejan sent a ball into shallow right field where the Bluejays missed played the ball, allowing Vermejan to reach third base. Two batters later, Jenny Jansen sent a ground ball to the right side of the infield that allowed the run to score.
Finan ended the second game of the day 2-for-3 and Alvarez had the other Bluejay hit.
Creighton returns to the field in Carbondale, Illinois on Sunday morning. The Bluejays will play Evansville at 10 a.m. before meeting Southern Illinois again at 12:15 p.m.