LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Creighton softball team dropped a pair of games to open its season on Friday at the New Mexico State Invitational. The Bluejays fell 13-4 to UTEP and 11-4 against the host New Mexico State Aggies.
Creighton allowed eight home runs on Friday, including five in the first contest of the day.
The Bluejays held leads during both games only to see each quickly erase.
Creighton loaded the bases and scored twice in top of the first inning of its season-opener. Ashley Cantu, Mikaela Pechar and Kailey Wilson each walked during their first plate appearances of 2019. Senior Kelli Finan delivered with a single to right field on a 2-2 pitch to drive in two runs and give the Bluejays their first lead of the season.
Creighton’s early advantage was short-lived as UTEP launched a two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the first to tie the game. The homer marked the Miners’ first of five long balls against the Bluejays on Friday afternoon.
UTEP gained a five-run lead after two innings before Creighton managed a pair of runs in the top of the third.
Freshman Sam Alm reached on an error to start the third frame and Mileah McKelvy went to first base after being hit by the pitch. With runners at first and second and one out, Wilson tallied her first hit as a Bluejay to drive in Creighton’s third run of the game. One batter later, Finan contributed with a sacrifice fly to left as the Bluejays cut the deficit to three, 7-4.
The Miners came up empty in the third but posted two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and ended the game with three in the sixth. A full-count three-run homer following a pair of full-count walks ended the game.
Wilson ended the game 2-for-2 with a walk, becoming the first Creighton freshman with multiple hits in the season-opener since Liz Dike and Allie Mathewson in 2012.
Laura Roecker started the game in the circle for the Bluejays. The senior made 77 starts during three seasons at Nebraska-Omaha before transferring to Creighton prior to the 2018 fall.
UTEP’s Kasey Flores finished 3-for-4 with two home runs, seven RBIs and four runs scored, while Cortney Smith went 2-for-3 with a pair of homers and five RBIs. The Miners scored their 13 runs off of seven hits and did not leave a runner on base against the Bluejays.
In the nightcap Creighton scored four times in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-3 lead before the host New Mexico State Aggies answered with five runs in the top of the fourth.
Sydney Jenkins started the Bluejays’ third with a double to left. The junior, making her second career start, advanced to third on a ground out to the right side and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Cantu.
After another fielder’s choice that did not result in an out and an infield pop out, the Bluejays scored three more runs with consecutive RBI singles to right field. Finan drove in Cantu before McKelvy sent home both Alm and Finan.
The Aggies responded in the fourth with three hits to start the inning, including an RBI double and two-run home run to left.
A fielder’s choice and wild pitch produced the fourth and fifth runs of the frame.
New Mexico State added two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth, each on RBI singles. Four different Aggies two RBIs overall.
Logan Black allowed only one base runner and struck out four hitters during the first two innings before running into trouble in the third. The Aggies led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and back-to-back homers resulted in a three-run third.
Black struck out a career-high six batters on Friday during 5.2 innings of work.
Creighton continues its stay at the New Mexico State Invitational on Saturday. The Bluejays are scheduled to play New Mexico at 11 a.m. Central before a rematch with UTEP at 1:30 p.m.