No. 16/17 Louisville Sweeps Redbirds
March 12, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Illinois State softball team saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, as No. 16/17 Louisville swept the Redbirds, 8-2 and 8-0, on the final day of the Red and Black Tournament at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
Sophomore Laura Canopy led Illinois State (13-12) offensively, going 3-for-6 at the plate with an RBI. Junior Elizabeth Kay provided the only other RBI for the Redbirds, driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the opener.
After inclement weather delayed the start of the first game by nearly two hours, the Cardinals (20-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of unearned runs on two hits, an error and a wild pitch in the bottom of the first. With one out, Kristin Austin singled and later came around to score on Katie Kellar's single and a two-base error that allowed Kellar to reach third. Kellar scored on the very next pitch, a wild one out of the hand of ISU starter Jordan Birch.
Louisville broke open the game with four more runs in the bottom of the third to push the margin to 6-0. Back-to-back doubles by Taner Fowler and Alicja Wolny led to the first run and Hannah Kiyohara capped the inning with a three-run homer to left, after a throwing error extended the inning. Sophomore Taylor Baxter replaced Birch after Kiyohara's blast and recorded the final out of the frame.
Illinois State got on the board in its half of the fourth on Canopy's RBI single that scored senior Liz Andrews. The Redbirds then cut the lead to 6-2 on Kay's deep fly ball to center that allowed redshirt sophomore Nichelle Harrison to tag and score from third.
The Cardinals answered back in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring a run on Jordan Trimble's RBI single through the left side and added their final run in the sixth when Austin scored on a Wolny groundout.
The Redbirds tallied eight hits, but stranded 10 base runners in the loss, as Birch fell to 7-7 on the year. Birch tossed 2.2 innings, giving up six runs, just one earned, on eight hits. Baxter gave up a pair of runs in 2.2 innings of relief and freshman Sophia Perez tossed a perfect final 0.2 innings to close the pitching line.
In the nightcap, Louisville once again scored in the bottom of the first to take the early lead. Wolny drove in a run with a two-out single to left that scored Fowler and gave the Cardinals a 1-0 advantage.
The game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when Louisville put up five runs on five hits and a Redbird error to extend their lead to 6-0. The first five Cardinals hitters reached base and three scored, before Perez came out of the bullpen in replace of Illinois State starter Megan Warner early in the inning. Perez recorded the first two outs of the frame, when Fowler flied out to deep left and Austin was cut down trying to tag and advance to third on a great throw by ISU left fielder Lauren Kellar. A two-run homer by Wolny, who finished the game 3-for-3, capped the inning for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals secured the run-rule victory by pushing across two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with the game-winning run scoring on Illinois State's third error of the game and their sixth of the afternoon.
The Redbirds managed just three hits in the final game of the day, as Warner fell to 5-4 on the season, after allowing four runs, one earned, on 10 hits in 3.0 innings. Perez allowed three runs, one earned, on three hits in her inning of work.
Illinois State will open Missouri Valley Conference play next weekend when they travel to Springfield, Mo., to take on 2011 State Farm MVC Tournament champion Missouri State in a three-game set beginning Friday evening at Killian Stadium.
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