Redbirds Fall in Season Opener to Florida Gulf Coast
Feb. 6, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. - Niki Stansell collected a pair of hits and scored a run in her Redbird debut, but it wasn't enough to help the team avoid a 10-2 season-opening loss to Florida Gulf Coast in a run-rule shortened game at USF Stadium Friday afternoon.
Stansell, a junior transfer from Georgia, went 2-for-3 in the game with a double. Jesse Buker collected the Redbirds' only other hit, a two-RBI single in the in the top of the third.
Florida Gulf Coast jumped on Illinois State starter Amber Smith from the start of the game, collecting four hits and putting five batters on base before the first out was recorded. Smith struck out Desiree Smith, the Eagles' No. 6 hitter, to end the streak but faced all nine Florida Gulf Coast hitters in the first inning. The Eagles scored five runs in the first.
In the second inning, Florida Gulf Coast kept the pressure on and plated three runs against Smith and two runs against Redbird reliever Megan Warner to push the lead to 10-0.
Stansell led off the third inning with a double, and walks by Becca Baltikas and Smith loaded the bases for Buker. Buker singled to left to score Stansell and Baltikas but the rally was short-lived. Abby Olson and Jessica Roche were both retired by Eagles' starter Cat McDaniel to end the inning.
McDaniel struck out five and scattered three hits over five innings. Four Florida Gulf Coast players collected multiple hits, including Jessica Carter who finished with four runs batted in.
Illinois State takes on tournament-host South Florida in a game that was scheduled to be played at 3 p.m., but will likely begin closer to 4 p.m. (CT).