OMAHA, Neb. — Creighton softball junior outfielder Ashley Cantu earned a spot on the 2019 All-BIG EAST First Team, while senior pitcher Laura Roecker and freshman first baseman Kiara Mills each claimed All-BIG EAST Second Team honors, the league announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Cantu’s honor marked her second all-conference accolade as the Frisco, Texas native made the All-BIG EAST Second Team as a freshman in 2017. The junior started each of Creighton’s 21 conference games in the lead-off position and ranked fifth in the league with a .506 on-base percentage and 10th in batting average (.369). She drew a BIG EAST-best 18 walks and tallied 24 hits for the fifth-best total in the conference, which included six multiple-hit games. Cantu led the league with 85 plate appearances.
The junior center fielder is the fifth Bluejay to earn All-BIG EAST First Team honors since Creighton joined the league prior to the 2014 season.
Cantu led Creighton with 48 hits, 29 walks and 28 runs scored during the entire season. She currently ranks third on Creighton’s career batting average list with a .370 mark during three seasons (149 hits).
Roecker recorded a BIG EAST-low 1.80 ERA during 62.1 innings of work in conference action. The senior led Creighton with 14 appearances, including nine in relief, and struck out 33 batters, while walking 24. Roecker did not allow an earned run during six separate appearances. She surrendered only three earned runs during five consecutive league outings from April 13-28 (27.2 innings). The Elkhorn, Nebraska native earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on April 15 after posting a 0.00 ERA during 12.0 innings for a pair of complete-game victories against Villanova.
The senior also led the Bluejays with a 3.27 ERA during 98.1 innings overall this season, while pacing the team with 27 appearances and 10 victories.
Roecker nabbed an All-Summit League Second Team selection as a freshman in 2016 while playing for Nebraska-Omaha.
Mills is Creighton’s fourth freshman in the past three seasons to be honored with an All-BIG EAST selection. The West Covina, California native paced the Bluejays in home runs (6) and RBIs (16) during league play and ranked seventh in the league with 21 hits. She recorded seven multi-hit games and five multiple-RBI contests, while starting each of Creighton’s 21 BIG EAST games at first base. Mills led the league with 148 putouts and did not commit an error while helping Creighton tally nine double plays.
The freshman played in 42 games overall and led the Bluejays in home runs (11), RBIs (33) and slugging percentage (.732).
Creighton, which ended its 2019 season on Sunday with a 9-7 victory against Seton Hall, concluded the spring with an 8-13 league record (20-24 overall) for a sixth place finish in the BIG EAST during head coach Brent Vigness‘ 26th season.
Villanova’s Paige Rauch earned unanimous selection as the BIG EAST Player of the Year and Madison Morris (St. John’s) claimed unanimous Pitcher of the Year accolades. DePaul’s Maranda Gutierrez garnered BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Peyton Cody (St. John’s) and Daniela Alvarez (Providence) shared Freshman of the Year status. St. John’s, under the direction of first-year head coach Bob Guerriero, earned the Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Each All-BIG EAST Team consists of 12 players: two pitchers, one catcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, utility/pitcher, designated player/non-pitcher and three outfielders. Votes were casted by each team’s head coaches who were not allowed to vote for their own players.
The All-BIG EAST teams and major awards were selected based on performances during league play.