Redbird Softball Falls to Drake in Extra Innings, 5-4
April 15, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - Jhavon Hamilton brought the Redbirds back twice to continue the game, but her efforts weren't enough, as Missouri Valley Conference foe Drake (18-21, 9-6 MVC) topped Illinois State (24-19, 9-6 MVC), 5-4, Sunday in the final game of the three-game series at Marian Kneer Stadium in 11 innings.
Hamilton was 2-of-6 from the plate, including a two-run shot that pushed the game into extra innings. Lizzie Andrews also drove in two runs, going 2-of-5 from the batter's box. In the circle, Jordan Birch pitched a career-high 11 innings, striking out 12 Drake batters and issued only one walk. With the loss, Birch's record drops to 14-12.
Drake came alive in its half of the third inning. Nicole Randel doubled to left field to leadoff for the Bulldogs, as Sarah Ryan pinch ran for Randel at second. Amy Pierce singled to left field and drove in Ryan for the first run of the game. Pierce moved to second on the throw to the plate during the scoring play and later crossed home plate on a Redbird throwing error to give Drake a two-run lead.
Andrews hit a solo home run in the fourth to cut Drake's lead to one. The Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs, but weren't able to add any more runs to the scoreboard. In the top of the sixth, Drake's Sam West singled to left field and stole second to put a runner in scoring position for the Bulldogs. Hayley Nybo singled down the left field line to score West and add a run to Drake's total.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Kelsey Turczyn pinch hit and drew a two-out walk to put a runner on first. Hamilton hit a deep shot over the right field wall to clear the bases and tie the game, 3-3. Lauren Kellar continued the seventh inning rally with a single through the right side, as Andrews walked to put runners on first and second. ISU couldn't push any more runs across and forced the game into extra innings.
In the top of the ninth, Drake had runners in scoring positions with two outs, as Liz Buck hit a single to left field driving in Lindsey Vande Wall, who was pinch running, giving Drake the 4-3 lead. In ISU's half of the ninth, Hamilton hit a two-out single up the middle, while Kellar's quickness beat out an infield single to put runners on first and second for the Redbirds. A single through the right side by Andrews scored Hamilton from second to tie the game in the ninth, while Kellar stopped on third. The Redbirds couldn't continue the two-out rally as the game moved into the 10th inning.
A leadoff single by Jaimie Duffek gave Drake a quick base runner. Duffek stole second and scored on Buck's single to left center field, giving the Bulldogs a 5-4 advantage. Drake hit into a double play to end the inning. Illinois State went three up, three down in the bottom of the 11th to give the Bulldogs the win, 5-4.
Illinois State will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to take on Indiana State Wednesday. The first game of the doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. (CST).
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