OMAHA, Neb. — The Creighton softball team tied a program record with six home runs to down South Dakota, 11-6, during the Bluejays’ home-opener on Wednesday afternoon at the Creighton Sports Complex.
The Bluejays improved to 11-11, while the Coyotes fell to 19-17.
Creighton also hit six home runs last season during the second game of a doubleheader against UMKC (April 17).
Kiara Mills hit two homers on Wednesday while Ashley Cantu (inside-the-park), Mileah McKelvy, Kelli Finan and Mikaela Pechar each blasted one.
Creighton fell behind 1-0 after a solo home run in the top of the first inning before the Bluejays countered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the opening frame.
Jayci Foster reached first after being hit by the pitch and Mills sent an 0-1 delivery over the left-field wall for her team-leading fourth long ball of the season during her first at-bat in game action at the Creighton Sports Complex.
South Dakota tied the game in the third with two singles and a RBI ground out, but the Bluejays responded in a similar fashion as the first.
Ashley Cantu led off Creighton’s half of the third inning by hitting a 2-1 offering down the left-field line. The junior center fielder raced all the way around the bases and scored without a play at the plate as the ball trickled into the left-field corner. The inside-the-park home marked Cantu’s second of the season. After Foster walked, Mills launched her second home run in as many at-bats over the center-field wall to extend Creighton’s lead to 5-2. Following a pitching change, Mileah McKelvy lifted the eighth pitch of her plate appearance over the left-field side of the center-field wall for her third homer of the season — the Bluejays’ fourth of the game — and extended Creighton’s edge to four runs, 6-2.
The Bluejays loaded the bases in the fourth but did not score and the Coyotes cut into their deficit with a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
For the third time on Wednesday, Creighton countered South Dakota’s one run in the top of half of an inning with multiple run in the bottom. Finan led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to left field. Three batters later, Pechar lifted her first home run of the season to straight-away center field for the Bluejays’ sixth homer of the game to tie the program record and extend Creighton’s lead to 9-3.
South Dakota loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning and cut into the Bluejays’ lead again in the sixth, but the Bluejays responded with a RBI single by Sam Alm and RBI ground out from Victoria Alvarez to take an 11-4 lead in the final inning.
The Coyotes added one in the top of the seventh with two singles and a double to cut the final margin to six runs.
Mills led the Creighton offense by going 2-for-3 with two homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. Pechar also went 2-for-3 and drove in two, while Jayci Foster scored three times.
Logan Black earned her second victory of the season in a complete-game effort. The sophomore struck out four and allowed eight hits and four earned runs (five overall).
Creighton resumes BIG EAST Conference play this weekend in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bluejays and Friars are scheduled to play a three-game series, beginning with a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Central on Saturday.