Redbird Softball to Conclude Non-Conference Slate at DePaul
April 11, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team will wrap up its non-conference schedule Tuesday afternoon, when it travels to Chicago for a 4 p.m. with the DePaul Blue Demons at Cacciatore Stadium.
The Redbirds (23-12, 9-2 MVC) enter Tuesday's game with the Blue Demons having won 10 of their last 12 ballgames. ISU saw its eight-game win streak end last Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Northern Iowa, but the Redbirds are a perfect 5-0 against teams from the state of Illinois this season. Senior Kara Nelson leads Illinois State with a .415 batting average and is currently on a 12-game hitting streak. However, sophomore Jhavon Hamilton has been swinging the hottest bat for the Redbirds as of late. Hamilton has recorded multiple hits in seven of her last nine games and is hitting .500 with five home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.036 slugging percentage in her last 10 games.
In the circle, junior Jordan Birch has won eight of her last 10 starts and leads the Redbirds with 10 pitching victories. Birch was saddled with only her second defeat of the season in Sunday's loss to the Panthers, allowing just two hits and striking out five. The Monroe, Wash., native has posted a 1.44 ERA, 47 strikeouts and only five walks in her last six appearances.
DePaul (23-11, 8-1 BIG EAST) has been an offensive force recently, outscoring opponents 60-19 in its last seven games, with six wins. The Blue Demons are hitting .274 as a team with 22 home runs and 31 doubles. Sean Plese leads DePaul offensively with a .468 batting average, including .632 mark in her last seven games. Kirsten Verdun has provided the power at the plate and the circle for the Blue Demons. The freshman lefty has smashed a team-high nine homers and 30 RBI and leads the DePaul pitching staff with a 14-3 record, 2.02 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 117.2 innings of work.
Illinois State holds a narrow 15-14-1 advantage in the all-time series and defeated the Blue Demons, 5-1, last season at Marian Kneer Stadium.
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