BROOKINGS, S.D. — The Creighton softball team fell twice by a single run during a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon against South Dakota State at the Jackrabbit Softball Stadium in Brookings, South Dakota. The Bluejays fell 1-0 in the first game and 8-7 on a walk-off during extra innings in the second.
Creighton fell to 17-21, while the Jackrabbits improved to 31-12.
Kiele Miller limited South Dakota State to three hits and one run but ended the first game of the day as the hard-luck loser. Miller, the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week, struck out four batters and did not walk any while needing only 77 pitches for her sixth complete game of the season.
The sophomore retired the first seven hitters she faced and sat the Jackrabbits down in order during four different innings.
South Dakota State scored the game-winning run during the bottom of the sixth inning. Yanney Ponce’s double to right-center field drove in Peyton Daugherty for the lone run of the game.
Kiara Mills led the Creighton offense by going 3-for-3 while Jayci Foster and Sydney Jenkins each had one hit.
The Bluejays left two on base during the second and fifth innings, while leaving the bases loaded to end the game. Mills, Kelli Finan and Nikki McNeil each reached base to load the bases with one out in the top of the seventh. A strikeout and ground out ended the game to keep Creighton out of the run column.
Creighton fell behind early during the second game as South Dakota sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs during the bottom of the first inning.
The Bluejays scored three times in the fifth inning to cut their deficit to a single run. Finan led off the inning with a single up the middle before pinch-hitter Kailey Wilson lifted a 1-1 offering over the center-field wall for a two-run homer. After a pair of outs Cantu extended the inning with a single into left field. Foster followed Cantu by sending a fly ball into right field. The ball dropped in front of the right fielder and drove in Cantu from second base to make it only 4-3 in favor of the host Jackrabbits.
South Dakota State quickly responded by scoring three runs of its own during the bottom of the fifth to regain a four-run edge, 7-3.
Creighton added two more runs with two outs in the top of the sixth. Wilson doubled down the right-field line to drive in Finan from second base and pinch-hitter Mileah McKelvy single to center field as Courtney Sandell slid past a tag at home to trim the Bluejays’ deficit to two runs, 7-5.
The Jackrabbits went quietly in the bottom of the sixth before Creighton tied the game in the top of the seventh. Kiara Mills hit her team-leading eighth home run of the season over the 220-foot sign in center field for a two-run homer to tie the game at 7-7. Cantu led off the inning with a single through the left side before Mills homered two batters later.
Creighton reliever Logan Black held SDSU out of the run column in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings.
The Bluejays left one on base during the top of the eighth before Ali Herdliska lifted a 1-2 delivery over the left-field wall in the bottom of the eighth with one out for a walk-off homer.
Creighton resumes BIG EAST play with a three-game series against DePaul on Saturday and Sunday in Chicago.