Redbirds Fall to No. 4/3 UF, Lead Suspended Game Against BCU
Follow @ISURedbirds Tweet #backtheBirds
Feb. 7, 2014Box Score
NORMAL, Ill. - Rain caused the Illinois State softball team to complete only half of its opening day slate in Tampa, Fla., Friday, at the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament. The Redbirds (0-1) fell to No. 4/3 Florida (3-0), before their contest against Bethune-Cookman was suspended through five innings, with ISU holding a 4-2 lead. The game will be concluded at 8 a.m., CST, Saturday, before the rest of the tournament schedule ensues.
Nichelle Harrison led the way offensively for the Redbirds, going a combined 3-for-6 with two runs scored, a RBI, and a stolen base. With hits in each game, she extended her on-base and hitting streaks to 19 and 12 games, respectively, dating back to last season. Kolby Hoffman drove home a combined two runs, including a solo home run, while Sara Bradley scored twice from the leadoff spot.
The combination of Regan Romshek and Taylor Baxter excelled for the Redbirds in the circle. Romshek limited the potent Gator offense to three runs in a complete-game effort, scattering nine hits. Baxter tossed all 5.0 innings played of the second game, allowing two runs on just four hits.
Game One - No. 4/3 Florida 3, Illinois State 2
After a scoreless first inning, the Gators grabbed a 1-0 advantage on a solo home run from Taylor Schwarz over the left field wall.
ISU responded to even the contest in the top of the fourth. After Lauren Haeger (WP, 1-0) retired the first nine Redbirds of the game, Bradley led off the inning with a double into left center field. Harrison followed with a perfectly-placed bunt to the left side of the infield that no Gator was in position to field, as Bradley came home from second to make it 1-1.
Florida scored two runs against Romshek (LP, 0-1) in their next two at-bats. Aubree Munro doubled home Schwarz in the fourth, before Kirsti Merritt drove in Kelsey Sterwart with a double in the fifth. Romshek and the Redbird defense were able to strand a runner in scoring position in each of those innings, though, keeping the Redbirds within striking distance.
Laura Canopy led off the seventh by being hit by a pitch, before Annie Heineman worked a 10-pitch walk in her first collegiate at-bat and Romshek walked on eight pitches to chase Haeger. Freshman Delanie Gourley came in to face Hoffman, who hit a sacrifice fly to score Canopy and make it 3-2 Gators. Gourley (SV, 1) struck out Brittny Drish swinging and Kelsey Turczyn looking, however, to end the contest.
Game Two - Illinois State 4, Bethune-Cookman 2 (suspended in fifth)
The Redbirds grabbed control of the game early, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Bradley walked to lead off the contest, before Harrison singled and Canopy walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Jordan de los Reyes grounded a ball to shortstop Sophia Ortega, who could not beat Canopy to the bag. This allowed Bradley to score, before Harrison hustled around third and slid home safely to make it 2-0 ISU and give de los Reyes the first two RBI of her career.
Hoffman made it a 3-0 advantage with an opposite-field home run to lead off the third. The Wildcats responded with two runs on back-to-back RBI doubles in the bottom half of the frame, before Baxter was able to get the final two batters out to end the threat.
From there, Baxter cruised. Including the last two hitters of the third, she retired eight of nine Wildcats before the suspension. Meanwhile, ISU doubled its advantage in the fourth inning. With two outs, Harrison reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored on a single to left field by Canopy that made it 4-2 Redbirds.
A persistent drizzle throughout the contest picked up in the fifth inning. Once the frame was complete, play was delayed for roughly 15 minutes before the decision to suspend the contest was made.
Following the conclusion of the game against the Wildcats, ISU will play two more games. The Redbirds will take on Wisconsin at 12:45 p.m., CST, before squaring off against No. 25/23 South Florida at 5:30 p.m., CST.
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.