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Alyssa Gappa leads softball to victory over second-seeded UConn and advances Bluejays to BIG EAST title game
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Alyssa Gappa leads softball to victory over second-seeded UConn and advances Bluejays to BIG EAST title game

PROVIDENCE, RI – Senior Alyssa Gappa went a perfect 3-for-3 with a Creighton single-game BIG EAST Tournament record six RBI to propel the third-seeded Creighton Softball team to a 10-6 victory over second-seeded UConn on Friday night in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament presented by Jeep.

Creighton (36-21) advances to Saturday’s Central Finals at 3 p.m. against top-seeded Villanova in a game broadcast on FS2. Creighton will have to knock off the Wildcats twice to advance to Schedule 13e NCAA tournament in program history.

Trailing 4-0 after two full innings, the Bluejays staged a monumental comeback by taking their first lead of the game on one swing of Gappa’s bat. After a walk from junior Sydra Seville and a wild pitch that moved her to second, senior Madeline Vejvoda drove in the Bluejays’ first run of the game with an RBI single to right center. CU would then load the bases on a single to right by sophomore Lily West and a four-pitch walk to senior Emma Rosonke. Gappa then fired the team’s first grand slam of the season over the left field wall to give the Bluejays a 5–4 lead as the momentum shifted in the Bluejays’ favor.

However, the Huskies responded quickly, regaining a 6-5 lead with two runs in the top of the fourth inning. A one-out single and a wild pitch brought Grace Jenkins to second, where she would come down the right field line to score on an RBI double by Rosie Garcia. Garcia would then score on an RBI double to right center by Jana Sanden to take a 6–5 lead.

After retiring the side in the top of the fifth, the Bluejays went back to work, tying the game at 6-6 on an RBI single down the left field line from Gappa.

After another scoreless inning from junior Kenzie Schopfer in the circle, the Bluejays used five hits and a UConn error to score four points to open a 10-6 lead. Senior Cayla Nielsen opened the frame with her 41stthe double of her career before Sevilla bunted-single and extended her hitting streak to 14 consecutive games. Vejvoda then delivered a go-ahead RBI single double down the left field line to give Creighton a 7-6 lead. After a sacrifice bunt by West that moved the runners to second and third base, Dalton hit a two-run single to center to extend the lead to 9-6. Gappa stayed hot and blasted an RBI double down the right field line to secure the Bluejays 10-6 victory.

The Bluejays finished the game with 10 combined hits, led by Gappa with three, including the Bluejays’ first grand slam of the season. Gappa finished with a Creighton single-BIG EAST Tournament game record of six RBI while a senior Madeline Vejvoda and sophomores Lily West each closed the match with a few basic punches.

Junior Kenzie Schopfer picked up the win in the circle and improved to 6-7 on the year after 3.0 hitless innings with three strikeouts.

UConn finished their season with an overall record of 31-24 as Payton Kinney was the hard-luck loser to fall to 12-5 on the season. Rosie Garcia led the Huskies with two hits, while Hope Jenkins collected a trio of RBIs in the loss.