Loss to No. 20/22 Louisiana-Lafayette Opens NFCA Leadoff Classic
Feb. 21, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team (3-7) opened play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., with a 10-4 loss to No. 20/22 Louisiana-Lafayette (7-3-1), Friday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. The Redbirds' second game against South Florida was suspended due to rain in the bottom of the fourth inning, with ISU losing 1-0, and will be resumed Saturday morning at 9 a.m., CST.
The Redbird offense combined to draw 14 walks and take two hit by pitches in the two games, but tallied only four runs and two hits overall. Annie Heineman drove in the first two runs of her career to lead the Redbirds, while Kolby Hoffman drove in one and reached base a combined three times. Laura Canopy reached base a combined four times on three walks and a double.
All three healthy Redbird pitchers - Taylor Baxter, McKensie Vissering and Regan Romshek - saw action. Baxter started the game against the Ragin' Cajuns, before being removed after 3.0 innings in favor of Vissering. Romshek started the game against USF and pitched all 3.2 innings before the game was suspended.
Game One - No. 20/22 Louisiana-Lafayette 10, Illinois State 4
Despite drawing 12 walks, the Redbirds were unable to put together an offensive effort good enough to overcome an early deficit.
After Baxter (LP, 1-4) faced the minimum in the first, UL grabbed control of the contest with a six-run second inning. The Ragin' Cajuns sent 12 batters to the plate, drawing five walks and tallying two hits. Sara Corbello hit a solo home run in the third inning to make it 7-0, before Nichelle Harrison scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the frame to make it 7-1.
Vissering (ND) relieved Baxter to begin the fourth inning. She allowed a single tally in the fourth, before Heineman robbed Corbello of a three-run homer by crashing over the temporary fence in left field. The Ragin' Cajuns added one more in the fifth to take a 9-1 lead, meaning the Redbirds needed to record at least one run to extend the game. Jordan Wallace (WP, 4-1) walked the bases loaded, giving her a total of 11, before Heineman singled to left field for ISU's first hit of the game. The knock brought home pinch-runner Kelsey Turczyn and Hoffman to make it 9-3 and extend the contest.
The Ragin' Cajuns scored one more in sixth to make it 10-3, before Harrison scored her second run of the game on a RBI fielder's choice from Hoffman in the bottom half of the inning. Each team was held scoreless in the seventh, as UL won its third-straight game.
Game Two - South Florida 1, Illinois State 0 (through 3.2 innings)
After the Redbirds went in order, South Florida opened the game's scoring with a lone run in the bottom of the first. Julie Weber singled to lead off the inning and took second as the Redbirds got the ball back into the infield. After Weber advanced to third on a wild pitch, Tacoia Williams laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to plate the run and make it 1-0.
From there, Romshek held the Bulls scoreless. After the first six ISU batters were retired by USF starter Erica Nunn, the Redbirds drew leadoff walks in both the third and fourth. Neither runner scored, however, as ISU has yet to record a hit against Nunn.
Following the conclusion of the game against USF, the Redbirds' Saturday slate will go on as originally scheduled. The Redbirds will play James Madison at 11 a.m., CST, before taking on Hofstra at 4 p.m., CST.
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