OMAHA, Neb. — The Creighton softball team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before falling 8-5 against Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday night at the Creighton Sports Complex.
The Bluejays moved to 22-13, while the Mavericks improved their record to 16-28.
Creighton’s Kiele Miller struck out three batters, all looking, during the top of the first before the Bluejays gained a 3-0 edge in the bottom half of the opening frame.
Ashley Cantu led off the game with an infield single that chopped high over the third baseman, and Sam Crowley reached on an error trying to sacrifice Cantu to second. Following a strikeout, Kelli Finan lifted her team-leading sixth home run of the season over the left-field wall. The junior delivered the three-run homer with the first pitch she saw from Maverick starter Laura Roecker.
Hope Moreno recorded Creighton’s third hit of the inning, but consecutive ground outs ended the inning with the Bluejays leading 3-0.
UNO needed only one hit to score two runs during the top of the second frame. A lead-off single, walk and hit batsman loaded the bases with only one out. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, two Mavericks scored on a wild pitch and error as Creighton’s lead trimmed to one run, 3-2.
The Bluejays went quietly in the bottom of the third before Nebraska-Omaha took the lead with a two-run home run. Kelly Pattison lifted a two-run home run over the right-center for her team-leading seventh homer as the Mavericks gained a 4-3 edge.
UNO added to its lead with a two-out three-run homer during the fourth. The Mavericks put runners at second and third with no outs, but a fielder’s choice and ground out produced two quick outs. On a 2-2 delivery, UNO’s lead-off hitter Natalie Mostek extended the advantage to four runs, 7-3 with the team’s second home run of the game.
Reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Sam Crowley helped the Bluejays cut into the deficit with a two-RBI single in the bottom half of the fourth. Jordyn Strugeon led of the inning with a double into right field and Tash Coffiel reached after being hit by the pitch. Cantu worked an eight-pitch walk to load the bases for Crowley. After watching one pitch go by for a ball, the senior laced a single up the middle to drive in Sturgeon and Coffiel and shrink the UNO lead to 7-5. A ground out ended the inning with runners at first and third.
The Mavericks added to the final deficit with a single run in the top of the seventh. The lead-off hitter reached on an error scoring on an RBI ground out.
Creighton went down quietly during the bottom of the seventh.
Sturgeon led the Bluejays with two hits from her third and fourth doubles of the season, while Finan had three RBIs and Crowley had two. Cantu also reached bases three out of four times with a hit and two walks.
Creighton resumes BIG EAST play this weekend with a three-game series against Georgetown. The series begins with a doubleheader at the Creighton Sports Complex on Saturday, beginning at noon.