Redbirds Take Pair From Sycamores
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April 25, 2013Game One Box Score | Game Two Box Score | Fischer Postgame Interview
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Illinois State softball team matched its season-best four-game winning streak with a doubleheader sweep of Indiana State, Thursday afternoon at Price Field. The Redbirds won game one, 6-1, before taking game two, 5-3.
The Redbirds (26-18, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference) never trailed in either game, and were paced by a balanced offensive performance. Brittny Drish and Nichelle Harrison each combined for three hits, while Jhavon Hamilton, Lauren Kellar, Laura Canopy and Elizabeth Kay had two hits apiece. Hamilton extended her on-base streak to 23 games by reaching in each contest.
Taylor Baxter and Regan Romshek were both solid in starting roles for the Redbirds from the circle against the Sycamores (14-33, 3-18 MVC). Baxter (WP, 14-6) went the distance in game one, while Romshek (WP, 10-9) tossed 5.1 innings of three-run ball in the second game to earn her third-straight win. Sophia Perez (SV, 6) relieved Romshek to close out the second game for her MVC-best sixth save of the season.
Game One - Illinois State 6, Indiana State 1
Hamilton set the tone early for the game one victory with a solo home run to lead off the game, her sixth long ball of the season. After a scoreless second inning, Illinois State scored in its next three at-bats, including a three-run third inning that broke the game open.
Hamilton, Kellar and Canopy reached to load the bases with one out to begin the third, before Kay scored Hamilton on a sacrifice fly. Then, Harrison came up clutch with a two-out two-RBI single through the hole on the right side to double the lead and make it 4-0 Redbirds.
Illinois State added single tallies in the fourth and the fifth. With one out in the fourth, Drish worked a 3-2 count against Sycamore starter Halle Humphrey (LP, 4-14) before blasting the payoff pitch over the fence in left field for her third home run of the season, and second in as many games. In the fifth, Stephanie Gallant walked with the bases loaded to score Canopy and make it 6-0 Illinois State.
The Sycamores scored once against Baxter in the fifth on an RBI groundout, but mustered just five hits against the junior right-hander. The complete game was Baxter's ninth of the season, and first since April 11.
Game Two - Illinois State 5, Indiana State 3
Illinois State continued its all-around offensive performance in game two, but it was two defensive plays that loomed large in the final outcome.
With the contest being rescheduled from last week at Marian Kneer Stadium, the Redbirds served as the home team. Indiana State threatened to score in the top of the first, before Kellar's throw and Kay's block of home plate combined to retire Morgan Allee at the plate on a single to center field, keeping the game scoreless.
The Redbirds took advantage of the defense and jumped out to a 4-0 lead with two runs in each of the first two innings. Kellar scored the game's first run on an Indiana State error, before Harrison came through again with two outs to plate Kay and make it 2-0 Redbirds. Drish scored on a wild pitch by Humphrey (LP, 4-15) in the third, before Hamilton brought home Romshek with a triple into the right field corner that made it 4-0 Illinois State.
Romshek retired eight-straight batters at one point before giving up a two-run homer to Paige Schreiner in the fifth that cut the Redbirds' lead to 4-2. Canopy responded with a solo blast in the bottom half of the frame, before the Sycamores chased Romshek with another run in the sixth to make it 5-3.
Perez entered the contest with a runner on third and one out before inducing a fly ball to Harrison in right field. Harrison made the catch and fired a strike to the plate, where Kay again blocked Shelby Wilson from scoring and applied the tag. Perez then retired the Sycamores in order in the seventh to preserves the Redbirds' sixth victory in their past seven contests.
The Redbirds return home for a three-game series against Northern Iowa, who is currently tied with the Redbirds for third place in the MVC standings at 11-6. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is slated for noon, while Sunday's single game will also start at noon.
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