ISU Loses Late to No. 14 Michigan, Rebounds to Top Austin Peay
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March 9, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A throwing error in the top of the seventh inning resulted in a 2-1 loss to No. 14 Michigan for the Illinois State softball team (12-11), before the Redbirds rebounded to beat Austin Peay, 8-2, Saturday afternoon at Louisville's Red & Black Classic.
Elizabeth Kay led the charge offensively for ISU, going 3-for-4 and tying a career-high with five RBIs in the win over APSU, after a hitless performance against the Wolverines. Kolby Hoffman and Laura Canopy hit solo home runs against the Wolverines and Lady Govs, respectively.
Regan Romshek and Taylor Baxter each allowed just one earned run, with Baxter earning her seventh victory of the season against the Lady Govs. Sophia Perez entered the APSU game with ISU on top 5-2, shutting the door to earn her first save of the season.
No. 14 Michigan 2, Illinois State 1
After the Wolverines and Redbirds went 10 innings in their previous meeting this season on Feb. 22, extra innings appeared a possibility with the game tied, 1-1, moving into the seventh inning. However, two-out hitting and an ISU error led to the game-winning run for the Wolverines.
Romshek (LP, 3-6) retired the first two batters of the inning before allowing a single to Ashley Lane. Sierra Lawrence followed with a double to left-center that Lauren Kellar tracked down. Kellar threw to third in an attempt to get Lane, but the throw sailed high and into the Illinois State dugout, allowing Lane to come home and put Michigan up 2-1. The Redbirds could not muster anything offensively in the bottom half of the frame, leading to the loss.
After Michigan got on the board in the top of the first inning with a RBI single from Caitlin Blanchard, Romshek held the Wolverines scoreless for the next five innings. She constantly worked out of trouble, stranding the bases loaded three times and 12 Wolverines overall.
Despite Romshek's pitching, the ISU offense couldn't get on track against Michigan starter Haylie Wagner (WP, 3-0). Wagner, the 2012 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, was making just her third start of the season due to injury. After allowing the solo home run to Hoffman in the third inning that tied the game and a walk to Jhavon Hamilton the next at-bat, Wagner retired 13-straight Redbirds en route to the one-hitter.
Illinois State 8, Austin Peay 2
After being one-hit in their first game of the day, ISU picked up three hits as part of a three-run first inning that set the tone early against the Lady Govs. Hamilton and Kellar each bunted their way aboard to begin the contest, before Canopy walked to load the bases. Kay smashed Morgan Brewer's (LP, 2-3) 1-0 pitch off the fence in left field to clear the bases and give ISU an early 3-0 lead.
Working with a lead the entire way, Baxter (WP, 7-3) scattered two runs (one earned) and four hits in 5.1 innings to earn her fourth win in her past five starts. She tied a season-high with five strikeouts, while also walking two. Perez (SV, 1), relieved Baxter with one out in the sixth and two runners on base in a 5-2 game. She retired five of the six batters she faced, striking out three in the process, to ensure the Redbird win.
Canopy's leadoff home run in the third, her third of the season and team-leading 22nd RBI of the campaign, extended the ISU lead to 4-0. Austin Peay put a dent in the lead when Laurel Burroughs scored on a throwing error by Lindsey Greene in the fourth, before ISU pushed the advantage back to four when Shelby Music drove home Kellar with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth. APSU added one more in the sixth, before ISU put the contest out of reach with a three-run seventh.
Molly Cull, Hoffman and Hamilton loaded the bases with one out on two walks and an error by the pitcher Taylor Mills (ND). After Kellar lined out to short, Canopy walked to bring home Cull and make it 6-2 ISU. Then, Kay came through with the bases loaded for the second time in the contest, singling to bring home Hoffman and Hamilton and put the Redbirds on top 8-2. The five RBIs tie a career-high for Kay, as she also drove home five as a freshman on Feb. 19, 2010 at Arizona State.
Every Redbird starter except Music, who still had a RBI, reached base at least once. Hamilton (2), Kellar (3), Kay (3) and Harrison (2) all posted multi-hit games.
ISU concludes play in Louisville with two more games on Sunday, with updated game times. The contest against Miami (Ohio) originally slated for 11:30 a.m., CST will now be at 10:45 a.m., CST. Then, ISU's game against No. 13 Louisville is now at 1 p.m., CST, after being originally scheduled for 2 p.m., CST.
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