ISU Softball Closes Regular Season at UNI

May 4, 2012

Dates Saturday, May 5 - Sunday, May 6
Cedar Falls, Iowa (Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex)
Saturday at Northern Iowa (DH) (12 p.m.)
Sunday (Senior Day) at Northern Iowa (12 p.m.)
Radio / (Dustin Hall | Play-by-Play)
Game Notes Game Notes in PDF Format
Live Stats Game 1; Game 2; Game 3
Twitter @ISU_Softball
Melinda Fischer Show Featuring freshman Sophia Perez
AudioNow 309-319-9425 (Listen to the broadcast FREE on your landline or cellular phone)

The Illinois State softball team will close its regular-season slate this weekend, when it travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for a three-game series with Missouri Valley Conference foe Northern Iowa. The Redbirds and Panthers will open the weekend with a Saturday doubleheader at noon, and wrap up the set Sunday at noon.

ISU (32-20, 17-7 MVC) will be looking to extend its seven-game winning streak and clinch the No. 2 seed for the State Farm MVC Softball Championship, as UNI (37-14, 20-3 MVC) claimed the regular-season title last weekend by winning two of three games at Southern Illinois. Illinois State swept Creighton in a series last weekend at Marian Kneer Stadium to extend its lead over third-place SIU to a game and a half in the Valley standings. Senior Liz Andrews led the Redbird offense over the Bluejays and earned MVC Player of the Week honors by finishing the week 6-or-11 with three doubles and six RBI.

On the season, Andrews leads Illinois State with a .342 batting average and 11 doubles. Sophomore Laura Canopy is hitting .321 with six doubles and a team-best .444 on-bases percentage. Junior Jhavon Hamilton owns a .315 average, ranks second in the league with 10 homers and has driven in a team high 31 RBI. Fellow junior Lauren Kellar boasts a .303 average and has successfully reached base in 19 of her last 21 games. In the circle, senior pitcher Jordan Birch leads the Redbird pitching staff with a 20-12 record and 1.61 ERA. Birch leads the Valley with 199 strikeouts and is second in the conference with a .209 opposing batting average. Fellow senior Megan Warner is 9-7 with a 3.99 ERA.

Northern Iowa has been atop the Valley standings all season, as it opened conference play with 15-straight wins. UNI returns 18 letterwinners from last year's squad and is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Ryan Jacobs. The Panthers are hitting .284 as a team with three starters hitting over .300. Mackenzie Daigh sports a league-best .382 average and leads the team with 17 doubles. Whitney Plein is hitting .331 with a team-best 33 RBI and is tied for third in the MVC with nine homers.

In the circle, the Panthers lead the conference with a 2.04 team ERA. Reigning MVC Pitcher of the Week Jamie Fisher leads the Valley with a 1.35 ERA and an impressive 20-2 record. Fisher is limiting opposing hitters to a .183 batting average and has struck out 195 in 176 innings of work. Jaye Hutcheson owns a 14-10 record and 2.72 ERA with six shutouts in 20 starts.

Illinois State holds a 61-16-1 advantage in the all-time series with Northern Iowa and won two of three games last season in Normal, Ill. The Redbirds have won 13 of the last 16 meetings. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.