The Pirates softball team split their doubleheader on Saturday versus Creighton, closing out the second of two with a 9-7 Pirates win.
A pair of solo home runs helped the Pirates stake claim to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. With two down, Alexis Walkden sent her 13th of the year over the wall in left, and in the very next at-bat Sara Haefeli matched with a solo shot, her 13th of the season. From there, Danielle DeStaso was cruising on the mound, allowing just one hit and a pair of base runners through the first three innings before the Bluejays struck for three in the fourth.
Creighton’s Liz Dike homered to deep center field to cut the SHU lead in half, then an inopportune-error with two outs prolonged the inning. Allie Reinhart hit a fly ball to left in foul territory, but Jackie DiPietro was unable to make a play. Given a second chance, Reinart sent a two-run shot to left center, giving the Bluejays a 3-2 lead. The Pirates grounded out five runs in the fifth, needing just three hits to do so, while sending 10 batters to the plate. After DeStaso drew a bases loaded walk to score Yasmin Harrel from third and tie the game, DiPietro hit a two-RBI single into right to put the Pirates back on top.
The lead would not hold. Dike struck again for Creighton, this time hitting a grand slam out to left for her 10th home run of the season. That was the end of the day for DeStaso, as Lauren Fischer came in to close out the inning, neutralizing the Bluejay attack. After giving up a hit to the first batter she faced, she retired eight of the final 10 she faced, yielding just two hits and a walk in 2.2 innings of work.
Walkden’s game-winning home run in the top of the sixth came under some strange circumstances. Creighton pitcher Micaela Whitney had hit Whitney Jones to lead off the inning, then threw three-straight balls to Walkden, prompting Creighton to enter Sydnee Eck mid at-bat. Eck proceeded to serve one right down the middle for Walkden, and she made them pay with a liner out to left center, her second of the game.
With Fischer in a groove on the mound, this time the two-run cushion was enough, as she improved to 7-8 with the win. Harrell recorded a base hit in both games to extend her hitting streak to nine in a row. In addition to her solo home run, Haefeli also drew two walks, scoring twice, DiPietro went 2-for-4 with the big RBI single in the fifth, and freshman Alyssa Prukop came up with a pinch hit RBI single as well.
In game one of the softball double-header Seton Hall (16-10, 5-5) was hurt by a big fifth-inning rally.
After seeing a 2-0 lead slip away in the bottom of the third, SHU yielded four runs on five hits in the fifth as the Bluejays (17-11, 3-6) took a 6-2 lead.
In the top of the second, a couple of walks gave the Pirates runners at first and second with two outs for Jones, who singled into left center to score Sara Foster and give SHU a 1-0 lead.
Haefeli led off the top of the third and proceeded to tack on an additional run to the SHU lead, sending a solo home run on a line over the wall in left center. After that the Hall found trouble.
SHU starter DeStaso walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, leading to a relief appearance from Casey Moses. A hit batter and groundout to second brought two runs home, resulting in a 2-2 tie heading into the fourth.
While Creighton pitcher Micaela Whitney went through a stretch of retiring seven straight batters for Creighton, the Bluejay bats started to heat up. CU strung together five hits in the bottom of the fifth, including a stretch of four in a row that started with back-to-back doubles. The Bluejays took their first lead, 3-2, as Allie Reinhart doubled in Jen Daro, and scored thanks to a two-base hit to the gap in left center from Anna O’Gorman.Lauren Fischer came in to relieve Moses and was able to retire Liz Dike and Daro to put an end to Creighton’s big inning.
Seton Hall would pull within three as Joelle Arrante doubled to center field, scoring Jackie DiPietro in the top of the sixth, but that was all the offense they could generate down the stretch. Moses fell to 2-3 with the loss, while Whitney allowed two earned runs in 5.2 innings to improve to 9-6. Reinhart went 3-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored and two doubles to pace the Creighton offense.
The Pirates are back in action to finish off the three game series with Creighton tomorrow at 12 p.m. in Omaha, Nebraska.