Redbirds Run-Rule Missouri State, 9-1, to Take Series
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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead over Missouri State and never looked back, run-ruling the Bears, 9-1, in six innings, Sunday afternoon at Marian Kneer Stadium. The victory gave the Redbirds their first Missouri Valley Conference series win of the season, as they took two of three from MSU.
Elizabeth Kay, Shelby Music and Sara Bradley led the balanced ISU (17-15, 3-3 MVC) offensive attack with multiple-RBI performances. Kay was 3-for-3 with two RBI, a walk and a run scored, moving her batting average over the last ten games to .769, with three home runs, 17 RBI and 15 walks. Music went 2-for-2 with three RBI, a home run, two runs scored and a walk, while Bradley was 1-for-3 with a season-high three RBI, one run scored and a walk. Jhavon Hamilton tied a career-high with three runs scored and went 3-for-4, while Nichelle Harrison went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
In the circle, Taylor Baxter (WP, 10-5) tossed her second straight complete game, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out three. Baxter was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in the series with the Bears (15-20, 6-5 MVC), allowing just one run in 13.0 innings.
ISU pushed across five runs in its half of the first inning, batting through the lineup in its first plate appearance. Hamilton started things off for the Redbirds with a leadoff single and moved to second when Lauren Kellar walked. The duo moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Laura Canopy, before Chelsea Jones (LP, 9-12) intentionally walked Kay to load the bases.
With the bases loaded, Bradley hit a standup double to center field, driving in two runs. Music followed with a double to right center field, clearing the bases, as ISU took a 4-0 lead. Two batters later, with Music still at second, Harrison hit a single to left field that drove in Music and increased ISU's lead to five.
The Bears got on the scoreboard in the top of the third, cutting the Redbirds' lead to four, 5-1. Kirstin Cutter hit a double, scoring pinch runner Ali Trickey from third. The Redbirds increased the lead in the bottom of the fourth, when Kay hit a triple that bounced off of the center field wall, scoring Hamilton and Laura Canopy, as ISU increased its lead to 7-1 lead through four innings.
Music led off the fifth inning with a solo shot, her second of the season, over the right center field wall to make it 8-1. In the bottom of the sixth, Bradley walked with the bases loaded to bring home Hamilton and give ISU the run-rule victory.
With Hamilton, Kay and Kellar each reaching base at least once, the Redbirds have three players on double-digit on-base streaks. Hamilton has reached in 11-straight contests, the longest stretch this season for any ISU player, while Kay and Kellar increased their streaks to 10 games.
After seven-straight home games, the Redbirds will travel to DePaul Tuesday for its final non-conference game of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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