LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Creighton softball team fell 7-3 to No. 16 Minnesota to conclude play at the Sportco Kick Off Classic on Sunday.
The Bluejays ended the opening weekend 3-2.
Creighton and Minnesota were caught in a pitcher’s duel until the final innings as Kelli Finan‘s RBI single during the bottom of the first inning produced the only run during the first five innings.
Sam Crowley singled to left field as the second Creighton hitter of the game, advanced to second on a ground out and came around to score on Finan’s hit through the middle.
Fresh of victories during each of the past two days, Kiele Miller sat down the first three Gopher hitters she faced and allowed only three hits through the first five innings. The freshman also allowed only one runner to reach second base through the first half of the contest.
The Bluejays threatened with a runner at second base during both the third and fifth innings, but Minnesota’s Amber Fiser wiggled out of damage both times by inducing a ground out to third base.
During the sixth, the Gophers tied the game with a double and RBI single. Miller ended the inning with a strikeout and pop out and gave Creighton a chance to answer during the bottom half of the frame.
Following a ground out for the first out during the home half of the sixth, Jordyn Sturgeon gave the Bluejays the lead with one swing of the bat. Sturgeon lined a 2-0 delivery just over the left-center field wall for her first home run of the year to give Creighton a 2-1 edge. The inning ended with back-to-back strikeouts.
Miller headed back out to the circle to start the seventh inning and recorded a quick out with a fly ball down the right-field line on the first pitch to the Gopher’s No. 8 hitter.
The next batter sent a sharp grounder towards the middle of the diamond but Ellee Jensen reached safely without a throw. Minnesota took the lead with a two-run homer to right-center field before Miller induced a line out to left field for the second out.
Down to their final out of the inning, the Gophers started to knock the ball around the field with two singles, a double and a two-run home run to take a 7-2 lead. In total, Minnesota scored six runs on seven hits during the seventh.
Creighton had two reach on errors during the bottom of the seventh and Crowley laced a single through the middle on a 3-2 count to cut the deficit to four runs, 7-3, with one out and two on.
A ground out advanced runners to second and third before a strikeout ended the game.
Crowley led the Creighton offense by going 2-for-3 with an RBI as the Bluejays managed four hits against nationally-ranked Minnesota.
The Bluejays are back in action next weekend at the Runnin’ Bulldog Softball Tournament in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Creighton opens play on Friday against Eastern Illinois.