Redbirds Complete Victory over Bethune, Downed by Wisconsin
Laura Canopy reached base six times in the two games
Laura Canopy reached base six times in the two games

Feb. 8, 2014

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TAMPA, Fla. - Continuing their suspended game from Friday night, the Illinois State softball team secured its first victory of the season against Bethune-Cookman, before dropping a contest to Wisconsin, Saturday afternoon at the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament. Leading 4-2 through five innings, the Redbirds (1-2) added on a run for a 5-2 win over the Wildcats (0-3), before falling to the Badgers (2-1), 2-1.

Pitching continued to be a strong suit for the Redbirds early in the 2014 campaign, as both Taylor Baxter (BCU) and Regan Romshek (UW) allowed two runs in complete-game efforts. Baxter limited the Wildcats to four hits, while striking out five and walking two, while Romshek allowed only five hits to the Badgers.

Offensively, Laura Canopy reached base six times in the two contests, also recording one RBI, run scored and stolen base. Jordan de los Reyes went a combined 3-for-6 with three RBI, including her first-career home run, while Nichelle Harrison and Kolby Hoffman also notched multiple hits.

Game One - Illinois State 5, Bethune-Cookman 2

The Redbirds grabbed control of the game at the outset, Friday evening, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Sara Bradley walked to lead off the contest, before Harrison singled and Canopy walked to load the bases. Two batters later, 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 (WP, 1-0) 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 the next nine Wildcats before play was suspended. 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.

The game resumed Saturday morning, with ISU leading 4-2 in the top of the sixth inning. De los Reyes hit her first-career home run, a towering shot to left field, while Baxter retired the final six batters of the game to earn the Redbirds their first win of the season.

Game Two - Wisconsin 2, Illinois State 1

Against the Badgers, ISU found itself on the wrong side of a 2-0 first-inning deficit, as Stephanie Peace's third home run in as many games made it 2-0 UW.

The Redbirds cut the deficit in half with a lone tally in the bottom half of the first. With two outs, Canopy was hit by a pitch and Stephanie Gallant reached on a catcher's interference call. Hoffman deposited a single into left center field that scored Canopy and made it 2-1 Badgers. Hoffman was thrown out at second on the play to end the inning.

That would be the last run of the game scored by either team. UW starter Cassandra Darrah (WP, 1-0) retired the next 13 batters, while Romshek (LP, 0-2) kept the Badgers off the scoreboard as well. The Redbirds eventually started to accrue base runners, loading the bases in the sixth thanks to two hit batters and a walk. However, Hoffman struck out to end the threat. ISU had an opportunity again in the seventh, as Brittny Drish walked and Annie Heineman singled. However, Bradley lined out to first to end the contest.

The Redbirds' game against No. 25/22 South Florida scheduled for Saturday night was cancelled due to Friday's rain. ISU will complete its schedule at the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament, Sunday, against No. 5/4 Michigan at 8 a.m., CST.

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