Gorrell, Olson Homer; ISU Rolls Past Charlotte, 9-2
Feb. 29, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ga. - Home runs by junior catcher Casey Gorrell and freshman designated player Abby Olson in the top of the fifth inning helped propel the Illinois State softball team (8-9) to a 9-2 victory over UNC-Charlotte (7-7) Friday night at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. The win was the fourth-straight for ISU and its second of the day, as the Redbirds also defeated Winthrop (3-2) in eight innings earlier Friday.
Olson's home run, a grand slam, was part of a 2-for-3 game for the Hartsburg, Ill., native. Her six RBI in the game tied an ISU single-game record for most RBI in a game by an individual hitter, set four times prior. Sophomore third baseman Kara Nelson also had a strong game at the plate, as she tied her season high for hits in a game with three, while she also scored two runs and had a walk in the game.
Freshman Chrissy Burton (2-2) recorded her second-straight victory in the circle, as she pitched seven full innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits, while she struck out five Charlotte batters.
With Charlotte up 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning, Gorrell cut the 49er lead in half (2-1) with a frozen-rope home run that just skimmed over the top of the left field fence. The solo home run was the first of the season for Gorrell and the eighth of her Redbird softball career.
Gorrell's solo home run led the way for a big offensive inning by the Redbirds, as they pushed across six more runs in the frame. A two-RBI single by senior second baseman Tiffany Prager gave ISU a 3-2 lead, as both center fielder Katie Mathis and senior right fielder Andrea Shifflet scored on the play. Olson then blew the game wide open with her first-career home run, a grand slam shot over the left field fence, that gave the Redbirds a commanding 7-2 lead.
Olson followed her big fifth-inning performance with a two-RBI single in the top of the sixth inning that scored both Nelson and Prager, as ISU continued to dominate the 49ers at the plate. Olson's single was ISU's 10th hit of the game, which marked the fourth tinme this season that the Redbirds have tallied 10-or-more hits in a game.
After both teams started the game scoreless through the first two-and-one-half innings, Charlotte broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning after Jaimee West's two-RBI single landed just in front of Shifflet in right field and scored Serena Smith and Jenny Rumbles, as the 49ers went up, 2-0.
Illinois State looked to be in position to score in the top of the first inning after Nelson laid down a one-handed bunt just in front of home plate to start the game and then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Prager. With one out and Nelson on second base, first baseman Amber Smith hit a deep fly ball to center field for the second out, but Nelson tried to advance to third on the play and was thrown out by the Charlotte center fielder to end the inning.
The Redbirds will return to action Saturday for day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Illinois State will first take on 2007 Women's College World Series runner-up No. 4/6 Tennessee at 3 p.m. CST, followed by a 5:30 p.m. CST matchup with Hofstra.