Redbirds Split Doubleheader With Salukis, Lose Series
Taylor Baxter earned her eighth win of the season in the game one victory

Taylor Baxter earned her eighth win of the season in the game one victory

March 30, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team split a doubleheader with Southern Illinois Saturday afternoon at Marian Kneer Stadium, winning game one, 10-6, before falling, 9-3, in game two. Combined with Friday's 11-10 loss, the Redbirds (14-14, 1-2 MVC) dropped their first Missouri Valley Conference series since April 6-7, 2012.

The top half of the Redbird lineup continued to lead the offensive charge. Batting from the second spot, Lauren Kellar combined to go 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored. Laura Canopy went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored from the three spot in game one, before going 0-for-3 in the second game. Elizabeth Kay went 3-for-5 on the day with three RBI, two runs and three walks.

The long ball continued to haunt the Redbirds, as the Salukis hit five on Saturday and seven in the series. Taylor Baxter worked around two home runs allowed in the first game to earn the win, but Regan Romshek and Erin Rodriguez combined to give up three in the game two loss.

Game One - Illinois State 10, Southern Illinois 6

Just as they did in the first game of the series, the Redbirds scored three runs in the first inning. This time, however, they held on to the lead. Jhavon Hamilton led off with a walk against SIU starter Alyssa Wunderlich (LP, 5-7) and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kellar. With one out and a runner on second, Canopy hit a hard single to right field and drove in Hamilton for the first run of the game. Canopy moved to third on a wild pitch and a stolen base. Then, with a full count, Kay smashed her team-leading sixth home run of the season over the left center field wall to increase ISU's lead to 3-0.

The Redbirds kept the offense going into the second inning, as Hamilton hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, scoring Sara Bradley, who started the inning with a walk. Kellar singled to right field and drove in Brittny Drish, before Kellar scored from first off of a double by Canopy that lengthened the Redbirds' lead to six after two complete innings.

Southern Illinois got on the board in the top of the third with a leadoff home run over the center field wall by Michelle Bradley off Baxter (WP, 8-5), but Illinois State responded in its half of the inning, scoring one run to keep its lead at six, 7-1. The Salukis maintained their momentum from the third inning, scoring three runs in the fourth to get within three of the Redbirds, 7-4. In the inning, SIU was led by Kalyn Harker, who hit a three-run homerun over the right center field wall.

After ISU loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth, Drish doubled to deep left field and cleared the bases to give ISU a 10-4 lead. Southern Illinois loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning, scoring once before Sophia Perez (SV, 2) came in to record the final three outs and earn her second save of the season.

Game Two - Southern Illinois 9, Illinois State 3

A six-run sixth inning for Southern Illinois broke open a 3-3 tie and gave SIU the series win. A leadoff shot over the left field wall by SIU's Allie VadeBoncouer off Romshek (LP, 4-7) started the offensive attack. Perez (ND) came on relief, before Kelsey Gonzalez hit a double off of the left field wall to drive home two and scored from second on a double by Morgan Barchan. The Salukis weren't done, as Taylor Orsburn hit a two out homer over the right field wall off Rodriguez (ND), giving Southern Illinois a 9-3 advantage they would not relinquish.

ISU again got on the board quickly, scoring a run in the bottom of the first for the third time in the three-game series. Brittney Lang (ND) hit Kellar and walked the next three Redbirds, as Kellar scored on the third walk to give ISU a 1-0 lead after one complete inning. In the second inning, Drish scored from third on a single to right field by Kellar, giving ISU a 2-0 lead.

After going three innings without a run, Southern Illinois' Michelle Bradley hit a three-run homer off of the foul pole in left field with two outs in the top of the fourth to give SIU its first lead of the day, 3-2. The Redbirds responded to tie the game on the bottom of the fourth on Kay's RBI walk, before the Salukis grabbed control with the big sixth inning.

ISU continues its seven-game homestand, Wednesday against Northern Illinois at 4 p.m. Then, Missouri State comes to Marian Kneer Stadium for a three-game set next weekend. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.