Kellar's Five Hits, Seven RBI Lead Redbirds to 16-8 Win Over UIC
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Feb. 17, 2013Box Score | Coach Fischer Postgame Interview
TEMPE, Ariz. - Coming into Sunday's game against Illinois-Chicago, preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference selection Lauren Kellar was hitting .167 with no RBI. Following the Redbirds' 16-8 victory over the Flames, the senior center fielder is hitting .286, after going 5-for-5 with seven RBI, in ISU's final game of the Littlewood Classic.
Kellar's five hits and seven RBI, all of which came with two outs, both tie single-game program records. She becomes the third Redbird to record five hits in one game, and the first since Cutie Taylor achieved the feat in 2002. The seven RBI performance is also the third all-time, with Laura Canopy doing the same in last season's MVC Tournament championship win over Southern Illinois.
Every Redbird in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, as ISU scored its most runs since scoring 16 against Seattle on Feb. 19, 2011. Elizabeth Kay extended her hitting-streak to a team-high eight games with two, two-run homers, while also setting a career-high with three walks. Jhavon Hamilton also hit a three-run homer, her first of the season.
The Redbirds (5-5) only led the Flames (0-10) by one, 9-8, entering the bottom of the sixth inning. However, a seven-run inning put the Redbirds up by eight and clinched the run-rule victory. Kay and Hamilton each hit home runs in the inning, before Kellar hit a two-RBI single to left-center that drove home Stephanie Gallant and Sara Bradley to give the Redbirds the win and Kellar the records.
After the Flames scored three runs in the fourth inning against ISU starter Taylor Baxter (ND) to regain the lead, Erin Rodriguez (WP, 1-0) came in and got out of the inning. Illinois State regained the lead for good with five runs in the bottom half of the fourth, giving Rodriguez the first win of her career. She threw 1.2 innings, while allowing three earned runs and five hits.
Kellar drove home Nichelle Harrison with a RBI single to left in the second inning to open the game's scoring. The run began a stretch of six-straight half-innings that featured tallies. The Flames took their first lead of the game with two runs in the third against ISU starter Taylor Baxter (ND). Illinois State briefly regained the advantage with three in the bottom half of the third, as Kay scored on a wild pitch and Kellar drove home Brittny Drish and Bradley. The aforementioned three-run fourth followed for the Flames, putting them on top 5-4, before five runs in the fourth gave ISU a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Kay's line drive two-run home run over the fence in left field made it a 6-5 lead. Drish, Bradley and Harrison also scored in the inning, with the latter two crossing home on a two-out RBI double by Kellar to make it 9-5 Redbirds. The Flames chipped away at the lead with one in the fifth and two in the sixth, before the decisive seven-run sixth inning from ISU.
The Redbirds travel to Clearwater, Fla., next weekend to take part in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Redbirds will play six games from Feb. 22-24, including five against teams that made the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
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