Gallant's Walkoff Single Leads Redbirds to Extra-Inning Win Over SIUE
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TEMPE, Ariz. - A two-out eighth-inning single by Stephanie Gallant brought home the game-winning run, as the Illinois State softball team (3-6) topped SIUE (1-8) in extra innings, Sunday morning at the ASU Littlewood Classic. With the victory, ISU finished 2-3 at the three-day event, with all three losses coming to top-10 teams.
The Redbirds and Cougars battled to a 3-3 tie before heading to extra innings, which featured international tiebreaker rules. After ISU held SIUE scoreless in the top half of the eighth, Sara Bradley began at second base and was sacrificed to third by Nichelle Harrison. Two batters later, Gallant hit a ground ball up the middle that was backhanded by SIUE second baseman Allison Smiley near the second base bag. Gallant dove head first to barely beat Smiley's throw, while Bradley crossed home as the winning run.
Gallant's game-winning hit was part of a 3-for-3 effort for the junior catcher, who also walked once and scored a run. Regan Romshek and Kolby Hoffman tallied ISU's other two hits of the game, a RBI double and two-run homer, respectively.
Taylor Baxter started the game in the circle, before being removed with one out in the second. Romshek took over and held the Cougars scoreless for the final 6.2 innings, while surrendering only two hits and one walk, to earn her second win in as many days.
A victory seemed in doubt early, as SIUE scored the first three runs of the game against Baxter (ND). Rachel Coonrod walked with the bases loaded in the first inning to open the scoring. In the second inning, Jordan LaFave singled to plate a run before a hit by Smiley loaded the bases. Romshek (WP, 2-3) took over for Baxter and walked the first batter she faced to make it 3-0, before getting out of the inning.
ISU began its comeback with a two-run homer from Hoffman in the bottom of the second, her second long ball of the season. The Redbirds were held scoreless in their next three at bats, but Romshek kept it a one-run deficit by blanking the Cougars, at one point retiring eight-straight and 14 of 15 batters.
The Redbirds evened the contest in the bottom of the sixth. Gallant singled to begin the inning, before being replaced at first by pinch runner Lindsey Greene. Romshek helped her own cause by lining a double to the left center field wall, allowing Greene to scamper home and make it a 3-3 game.
After a scoreless seventh, the Cougars got their runner to third on a sacrifice bunt to begin extra innings. Romshek kept the game tied by striking out the next batter and inducing an inning-ending fly out, however, to set up Gallant's heroics.
ISU's next games will come at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., Feb. 21-23.
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