OMAHA, Neb. — Kelli Finan‘s walk-off three-run home run lifted the Creighton softball team past Southeast Missouri, 6-3, on Friday afternoon during the Bluejays’ home-opener at the Creighton Sports Complex.
Creighton improved to 9-6, while the Redhawks fell to 8-8.
With two outs and runners at first and second following a single and intentional walk, Finan fell behind in the count 0-2. The junior fouled off two pitches before launching an inside pitch over the left-field wall to propel Creighton to a three-run victory.
Finan finished the day 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Bluejays.
Southeast Missouri opened the game by scoring one run during the top of the first. Lead-off hitter Mykaela Arellanes reached on an error and later scored on a single to right field.
Creighton responded with a run of its own during the bottom of the first inning. After consecutive strikeouts to open the Bluejays’ half of the opening inning, Finan walked before Hope Moreno doubled to right-center field and drove in Finan all the way from first.
The visiting Redhawks regained the lead during the third. A two-out single drove home Southeast Missouri’s second run of the game.
In similar fashion to the first frame, Creighton countered with a run during the bottom of the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Tash Coffiel led off the home-half of the frame with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a fly out and strikeout, Finan singled to left-field to drive in Coffiel from second.
Southeast Missouri quickly responded by leading off the top of the fourth with a triple to the right-field corner. Later in the inning a fielder’s choice allowed the lead-off hitter to score.
After the Bluejays left one on base during the bottom half of the fourth, Creighton reliever Logan Black faced the minimum during the fifth as Jordyn Sturgeon erased a Redhawk single by throwing out the runner trying to steal second base.
Black cruised through the final two innings and picked up the victory while facing only nine batters during three innings.
The Bluejays tied the game at 3-3 during the bottom of the sixth. With runners at first and third and two outs, Sam Crowley laid down a bunt towards the third baseman. The third baseman picked up the ball and fired to first but not before Crowley touched first base and pinch-runner Sydney Jenkins crossed home plate as the third Bluejay run.
After a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, Kaitlynn Hunt led off the last of the final inning with a walk. Following a pop out, Ashley Cantu singled down the left-field line but Hunt was thrown out trying to advance to third base. With two outs and a runner at second, Sandell drew an intentional walk before Finan recorded her team-leading fourth home run of the season to end the game in dramatic fashion.
In addition to Finan’s four-RBI day, Crowley finished a perfect 3-for-3 and drove in one run, Moreno went 2-for-3 with one RBI and Cantu tallied a 2-for-4 performance from the lead-off position.
Bryana Clark started Friday’s contest for the Bluejays and struck out five while allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) during four innings of work.
Creighton and Southeast Missouri will play a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at noon. The Bluejays and Redhawks were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Friday starting at noon, but field conditions forced the teams to play one game at 4 p.m.