ISU Softball Takes Two from Creighton
April 28, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - After struggling at the plate in the first game, Caiti Kopp came to life offensively in the second game, going 3-of-4 with four RBI, as the Illinois State softball team (31-20, 16-7 MVC) took two games from Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton (26-21-1, 14-8 MVC) Saturday at Marian Kneer Stadium. ISU won the first game 3-1, before a convincing 8-3 victory in the second contest.
Lizzie Andrews was 4-of-5 over the two games with two doubles and three RBI. She also scored two runs. Jhavon Hamilton was 2-of-4 at the plate with a home run and a double and scored four runs for ISU in the doubleheader, while Laura Canopy went 2-of-5, driving in three runs and scoring two.
In the circle for the first game, Jordan Birch faced 35 Bluejay batters and struck out eight and allowed one CU run to score. Megan Warner got the start in the second game and struck out five batters in three innings, allowing three runs on three hits. Sophia Perez came in as relief for Warner in the fourth and finished the game with five strikeouts and recorded her third win of the season.
Game One Recap: Illinois State 3, Creighton 1
Creighton started the game with a leadoff double by Homan, who was left stranded on second after Birch came back and struck out three Bluejay batters. Illinois State responded and took a quick one-run lead off of a leadoff homer over the right field wall by Hamilton.
After the early offensive start by both teams, the Bluejays and the Redbirds were silent through the next three innings. ISU came back to life in the fifth, scoring two runs. Hamilton walked and moved to second on a single by Andrews to right field. With a 0-2 count, Elizabeth Kay was hit by a pitch, pushing Hamilton and Andrews up a base to load the bases for Illinois State. Canopy singled to the gap in right field and drove in Hamilton and Andrews, while Kay stopped on third. ISU wouldn't be able to score Kay, but had a 3-0 lead after five full innings.
Creighton wasn't going down without a fight, and in its half of the seventh, Alexis Cantu homered to right center field to cut ISU's lead to two. Starting with Cantu's home run, Birch allowed four-straight Bluejay hits in the seventh and loaded the bases with one out. Birch recovered and struck out two-straight Creighton batters to end the inning and the game.
Game Two Recap: Illinois State 8, Creighton 3
Like they did in the first game, the Redbirds jumped ahead quickly, taking a two-run advantage in the first. Hamilton walked and quickly moved to second on a bunt single by Lauren Kellar. Andrews hit a single up the middle and scored Hamilton from second. Kellar stayed on third and Andrews moved to second during the play. Kopp recorded an RBI single to the left side, pushing Kellar across home plate for the second ISU run of the inning.
Bri Lingl hit a solo shot to dead center field, shortening Illinois State's lead to one after two innings. In the bottom half of the third with two outs and runners on first and second, Kopp doubled to right center field and drove in two more Redbird runs, increasing ISU's lead to three, 4-1. Thanks to a two-run homer over the center field wall by CU's Amy Baker in the top half of the fourth, Creighton shortened Illinois State's lead to one, 4-3.
With the bases loaded in favor of the Redbirds, Creighton walked in the fifth run for ISU, giving Illinois State a little more breathing room with a two-run advantage, 5-3. In the bottom of the sixth, Andrews chalked up an RBI double to left center field, as she drove in Hamilton, who had a leadoff double to the gap in right center field. With two outs, Canopy singled to right field and pushed Andrews across from second. Kopp continued the two out offensive attack with a double to left field that scored Canopy from first to stretch ISU's lead to five runs, 8-3, through six innings. ISU held CU scoreless in the top of the seventh and took its second win of the day.
Illinois State and Creighton will face off for the final game of the three-game series Sunday beginning at noon. ISU will honor its seniors prior to the game.