ISU Softball Holds Off DePaul, 5-4
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April 9, 2013Box Score | Fischer Postgame Interview
CHICAGO - Early offense and solid pitching gave the Illinois State softball team enough room to overcome two seventh-inning errors, as the Redbirds beat DePaul, 5-4, Tuesday evening at Cacciatore Stadium. The victory, ISU's fourth in its past five games, moves the Redbirds to a season-best three games above .500, at 18-15.
DePaul entered the contest on a seven-game winning streak keyed by its explosive offense, as the Blue Demons had scored 60 runs over their previous four contests. Reigning Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week Taylor Baxter (WP, 11-5) was up to the task, allowing just two earned runs in 6.2 innings. Sophia Perez entered with two outs and two runners on base in the seventh to earn the save, her third of the season.
ISU recorded just five hits, but drew five walks and was hit by three pitches. Jhavon Hamilton reached base twice, including a three-run home run, to extend her team-high on-base streak to 12 games. Brittny Drish tied a career-high with two walks, while Stephanie Gallant recorded a pinch-hit RBI single in her only at-bat.
The Redbirds jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the Blue Demons and All-American pitcher Kirsten Verdun (LP, 15-8) with four runs in the top of the second inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Sara Bradley scampered home on a wild pitch that made it 1-0 ISU. Then, Hamilton hit her first home run since Feb. 23 over the fence in left center to give the Redbirds a four-run cushion.
The Blue Demons halved the lead with a pair of runs against Baxter in the fourth, as Megan Coronado drove a two-RBI double to center field that made it 4-2 ISU. Gallant's RBI single in the sixth that scored Shelby Music gave the Redbirds a much-needed insurance run, as DePaul threatened in the seventh.
Looking for her third-straight complete game, Baxter sandwiched two groundouts around a single by Staci Bonezek, who stood at second base with two outs. However, back-to-back errors by Kolby Hoffman and Brittny Drish extended the game, before Samantha Dodd's RBI single cut the ISU lead to one, 5-4. Perez was brought on to face Mary Connolly, who led DePaul with 10 home runs and 32 RBI, with two outs and runners on first and second. On a 1-2 pitch, Perez induced a foul out to Drish, ending the threat and giving ISU the win.
The victory moves head coach Melinda Fischer's all-time record to 940-631-4, including an 899-606-4 mark at Illinois State. She will go for her 900th Redbird win Thursday, in a doubleheader against Bradley at Marian Kneer Stadium that starts at 3 p.m. The games are rescheduled from the postponed March 16-17 series.
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