ISU Softball Set for Home Opener with Illinois
March 14, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball is set to host in-state rival Illinois for the Redbirds home opener at Marian Kneer Stadium Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. Tuesday's game between the Redbirds (13-10) and Fighting Illini (9-9) will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season, with ISU winning the first contest, 10-7, last Saturday at the DeMarini Invitational in Columbia, Mo.
Patrons to Tuesday's game are encouraged to wear pink as the Redbird softball team will be looking to "Strikeout Breast Cancer." During the contest, cancer survivors in attendance will be recognized and tickets, hot dogs and drinks will be available for $1 to coincide with the event.
ISU finished 1-2 last weekend with the win over Illinois and a pair of losses to No. 14/18 Missouri. Freshman Laura Canopy led Illinois State offensively, going 5-for-7 at the plate with three doubles, a home run and three RBI last weekend. The freshman first baseman upped her season batting average to .333 and ranks second on the team with six doubles.
Junior Liz Andrews also provided power at the plate for ISU at the DeMarini Invitational, especially in the game against Illinois. Andrews finished 3-for-4 against the Illini, scored three runs and drove in two more with a home run in the bottom of the first.
Illinois will enter Tuesday's game looking to snap a four-game losing skid. The Illini are led offensively by Meredith Hackett, who is hitting .435 with a team-high nine doubles, four homers and 16 RBI. Hackett finished 2-for-3 and drove in three runs in Saturday's meeting with Illinois State. Pepper Gay and Jackie Guy have combined to toss all but 8.2 innings for Illinois inside the circle. Gay leads the team with 56.2 innings of work, 50 strikeouts and a 5-5 record. Guy, who suffered the loss against the Redbirds Saturday evening, enters Tuesday with a 4-4 record and a 3.70 ERA in 47.1 innings.
ISU and Illinois will meet for the 16th time Tuesday, with the Illini holding a 9-6 advantage in the all-time series. The Redbirds snapped a five-game losing streak to Illinois with Saturday's win, which was the first for Illinois State over the Illini since 2007.
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