Outscoring opponents 60-6 and posting five shutouts during a nine-game winning streak, the Creighton softball team is off to its best start since 2007 with a record of 13-4.
The team posted an impressive 9-1 record in the Rebel Spring Games in Florida, with its lone blemish coming from a 5-3 loss to Akron in the opening game.
“That was a huge step for us, especially going into conference play this weekend,” sophomore pitcher Sydnee Eck said. “I think we’re all feeling very, very confident just based on our overall performance down in Florida.”
Strong performances from Eck and senior shortstop Liz Dike helped the team earn nine wins in six days and garnered Big East pitcher of the week and Big East player of the week honors, respectively.
“Those two were certainly deserving of that,” coach Brent Vigness said. “I don’t know if there are many players in the country that had better numbers than those two.”
Complete-game shutouts of Presbyterian, Saint Peter’s and Albany helped Eck earn her first Big East accolade. She did not allow an earned run in four starts, and allowed just 16 hits and one walk in 26 innings of work. She also struck out 27 batters.
A 3-0 win over Presbyterian was the only game in which Dike did not produce at least one hit and one run in the 10 games. Her .509 batting average (27-53), five triples, five home runs and 24 RBIs all lead the Bluejays.
She notched two hits and two RBIs in an 8-2 victory over Hampton. In addition, sophomore outfielder Allie Reinhart recorded three of the Bluejays’ 10 hits and tacked on
Junior pitcher Michaela Whitney improved to 8-2 on the year with another complete game as she allowed just one earned run off of
In an 11-0 victory over Albany in the final game of the week, Dike hit her fifth home run on the year. Junior catcher Blake Ringle homered for the fourth time this season, and sophomore first baseman Jen Daro hammered her first home run. Daro finished the game with three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored. Eck allowed two hits in the shutout.
On March 12, Creighton outscored its opponents 18-0, beating Niagara (0-12) by a score of 8-0 before taking down Saint Peter’s (0-4) 10-0.
“Everyone up and down the lineup has been doing their job,” Eck said. “It’s a pretty great feeling as a pitcher having that kind of confidence in both your defense and your offense.”
Whitney stifled Niagara, allowing just three hits in six innings of work while walking three and striking out four.
The Jays got off to a quick start, tacking on four runs in the first inning. Dike, Reinhart and junior outfielder Michelle Trulin each had two hits, with Reinhart adding three RBIs.
The Bluejays scored in five different innings against Saint Peter’s, as Eck struck out eight on her way to a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits.
The Bluejays notched 13 hits in the win, as junior outfielder Kelsey Allender led the way with three hits. She also led the team with four runs, while Dike and sophomore designated player Anna O’Gorman each had three RBIs.
The Jays scored in each of the first four innings against Saint Peter’s just two days earlier as the team cruised to a 9-2 victory behind seven strong innings from Daro.
Daro allowed two runs off of five hits in the complete game. Dike recorded three hits, two RBIs and two runs, including two home runs.
Creighton looks to continue its winning ways as it begins the Big East season with a home series against the Butler Bulldogs (10-10) this weekend.
“Momentum is huge, and when they believe in themselves and are feeling good about themselves heading into the league, I think that puts us in a good position for opening weekend,” Vigness said.
The teams will first meet on Saturday for the first game of a doubleheader at noon; they will conclude the series with a game at 11 a.m. on Sunday.