Four Errors Cost Redbirds in MVC Tournament Quarterfinal Loss
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OMAHA, Neb. - The third-seeded Illinois State softball team was eliminated from the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with a 5-3 quarterfinal loss to seventh-seeded Evansville, Thursday night at the CU Sports Complex. ISU committed a season-high four errors in the contest, leading to four unearned runs for the Purple Aces.
Named MVC Player of the Year Wednesday night, senior catcher Elizabeth Kay lived up to the billing, going 3-for-4 with one run scored. Five other Redbirds (28-20, 13-7 MVC) added one hit apiece, with Lauren Kellar, Brittny Drish and Kolby Hoffman each driving in a run.
Taylor Baxter tossed a complete game for the Redbirds, allowing five runs, but only one that was earned. She scattered eight hits, while walking one and striking out one.
Evansville (22-29, 11-12 MVC) grabbed control of a back-and-forth contest with two runs in the top of the sixth on a throwing error by Drish, her fourth of the game. With the score 3-3, a runner on first and one out, UE leadoff batter Tamara Robey hit a grounder to Drish at short. Drish thought about going to first before instead attempting a throw to second that was wide of the bag and rolled all the way to the wall. The speedy Robey came all the way around to score, giving the Purple Aces a 5-3 lead that would stand the remainder of the contest.
The Purple Aces (22-29, 11-12 MVC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with single tallies in each of the first two innings. A throwing error by Drish allowed a run to score in the first, while Robey came through with a two-out RBI single in the second to make it 2-0.
ISU bounced back to tie the game with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the second. Drish walked with the bases loaded to score Kay, before Hoffman brought home Nichelle Harrison with an RBI groundout. Evansville regained the lead with a run in the third, before the Redbirds fought back to even the game once again on a two-out RBI single from Kellar in the fourth.
Illinois State will learn if its season continues from the NCAA softball selection show, which will air at 9 p.m., Sunday night on ESPNU. The Redbirds have made a program-best three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including at-large selections in 2010 and 2011. ISU has defeated three top-25 teams this season.
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