The Redbirds softball team played in its first tournament of the 2014 season over the weekend at the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament in Tampa, Fla. The ’Birds went 1-3 during the tournament, earning the win over Bethune-Cookman, 5-2.
“We couldn’t get our bats going. We had some tremendous opportunities and just couldn’t find a way,” Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer said. “I feel that we have confidence, we’re just not getting that one hit that as soon as somebody does that it’s going to exude the confidence all the way through.”
No. 4/3 Florida 3, ISU 2
The first game of the Redbirds’ season started off with a scoreless first inning. In the second inning, Taylor Schwarz of the Florida Gators hit a solo home run over the left field wall. The ’Birds responded in the top of the fourth to tie the game, 1-1. Sara Bradley had a double into center field and Nichelle Harrison followed with a bunt to the left side of the infield. Florida answered back with two runs.
Laura Canopy advanced to first base when she was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning before Kolby Hoffman hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Canopy, but it was not enough to beat the Gators and ISU took the loss, 3-2.
ISU 5, Bethune-Cookman 2
ISU took control early by scoring two runs in the top of the first. Hoffman gave the Redbirds a 3-0 advantage with an opposite-field home run to lead off the third. The Wildcats answered with two runs of their own on back-to-back RBI doubles.
Taylor Baxter retired eight of nine Wildcats to end the third inning. Nichelle Harrison crossed the plate after she reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored when Canopy hit a single to left field, making it 4-2, ISU. Rain caused the game to be suspended after the fifth inning. The teams continued the game on Saturday where ISU added on a run to claim victory over the Wildcats 5-2.
Wisconsin 2, ISU 1
ISU was down in the first inning as UW-Madison slammed a home run, giving the Badgers a 2-0 advantage. When the Redbirds were up to bat, Canopy was hit by a pitch and Hoffman hit a single into left-center field which brought in Canopy to make it 2-1, Badgers. In the seventh inning the ’Birds had an opportunity to score as Brittny Drish walked and Annie Heineman singled, but the score remained 2-1 and the Badgers took the win.
Michigan 7, ISU 1
In the final game of the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament, Regan Romshek brought in the only run for the Redbirds with her solo home run against No. 5/4 Michigan.
Baxter started the game in the circle for the Redbirds and surrendered a leadoff walk and single before Michigan’s Lyndsay Doyle brought in the Wolverines’ first run.
Romshek took Baxter’s place in the circle and kept the Wolverines from scoring in the third. When Romshek stepped up to the plate, she smashed the ball over the fence in left-center field for her second-career home run, and her first hit of the season.
Michigan took control with four runs in the fourth. After a two-RBI triple, McKensie Vissering replaced Romshek to record the final out of the inning. Vissering kept Michigan scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. The Wolverines found momentum in the seventh and scored their final run and beat the Redbirds 7-1.
“With Wagner being a lefty I think she tied up some of our left-handed batters,” Fischer said. “We really couldn’t get a good piece of the bat on it.”
“They [Michigan] had a lot of back-to-back hits … and they were able to advance the runner and fine a way to score
The Redbirds will take the field at the ASU Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 14-16. The ’Birds will face Washington, SIUE, Michigan State, Arizona State as well as defending national champion Oklahoma.