Creighton softball team puts hurt on Huskers from start in stopping six-game skid

Creighton worked out some frustration from the batter’s box Tuesday night while pounding out a 9-1, five-inning softball victory over Nebraska.

After Nebraska took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before an announced crowd of 535 at the CU Sports Complex, the rest of the game was all about Creighton and its overwhelming offensive performance.

The 12-17 Bluejays belted three home runs off beleaguered Nebraska starter Lindsey Walljasper in the bottom of the first. Creighton finished the inning with five runs and never loosened its grip on the momentum as the Huskers stranded seven base runners.

“When we’re down 1-0 and our leadoff hitter ties it with one swing, that takes some pressure off,” Bluejays coach Brent Vigness said. “Because if we go up three up-three down in that first inning, that one (Nebraska) run feels bigger than that.”

Creighton junior center fielder Ashley Cantu tied the game with a deep blast to left field. Shortstop Jayci Foster followed with a single before Kiara Mills stepped up and hit a screaming line drive that cleared the right field fence by less than 2 feet and put the Jays ahead 3-1.

Former Millard West standout Mikaela Pechar then capped the scoring in the inning with a two-out, two-run home run for a 5-1 lead. It was Pechar’s third home run of the season.

That was all the margin starting pitcher Laura Roecker needed to shut down the 13-23 Huskers over the next four innings. The UNO transfer finished with four strikeouts, two walks and a gigantic smile after a win she hopes is the start of something good for Creighton in the final month of the season.

Roecker said the Jays’ emphatic response to Nebraska’s early run made her job easier.

“We just played really well as a team,” she said. “Coming out in the first inning (and) getting five runs after Nebraska scored one, that was a big thing for us. We rolled off that the entire game.”

Creighton scored at least one run in each of the next three innings, including a two-out home run in the second inning by third baseman Kelli Finan.

Creighton hitters consistently showed patience at the plate, Vigness said.

“We didn’t take many bad swings,” he said. “I thought our selection was really good, and we went pretty deep in the counts. You have to have confidence to go deep in the count, and I thought we did a really good job of that. There were a lot of 3-2 counts, and we battled.”

The victory over the Huskers snapped a six-game Creighton losing streak and puts the Bluejays in a much better mindset heading into an important Big East series at Villanova that is scheduled to begin Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Huskers continue to scuffle along in what has become a lost season. Following a 10-6 start, Nebraska is 3-17 in its past 20 games heading into a Big Ten series against Purdue beginning Friday in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Freshman Courtney Wallace and senior Alyvia Simmons both had two hits to account for NU’s four-hit total. Wallace had the RBI double in the first inning that scored left fielder Tristen Edwards, who also committed another error Tuesday to raise her season total to 19.

“We’ve just got to keep working,” Nebraska coach Rhonda Revelle said. “They’re talented young women that are really getting bounced around a bit.”

Nebraska (13-23)………….100 00—1 4 1

At Creighton (12-17)……..511 2x—9 10 1

W: Laura Roecker (5-8). L: Lindsey Walljasper (7-9). 2B: N, Courtney Wallace. HR: C, Ashley Cantu, Kiara Mills, Kelli Finan, Mikaela Pechar. A: 535.