Illinois State’s softball team headed west to compete in another tournament at the ASU Littlewood Classic, extending its record to (3-6). The Redbirds took down San Jose State and SUIE, going 2-3 over the weekend.
ISU 1, Washington 9
In the first game at the ASU Littlewood Classic, the Redbirds faced No. 3 Washington. Sara Bradley started the top of the first inning off by hitting a single, and was replaced by Laura Canopy on a fielder’s choice two batters later. Canopy stole second with two outs, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. She then scored on an illegal pitch to give ISU the 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the first, the Huskies added two to the board when USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week Kylee Lahners hit a two-run homer. In the third inning, Washington scored six runs. Regan Romshek was relieved by McKensie Vissering when she was called for an illegal pitch in the third. Romshek reentered the game and retired six of the seven batters she faced, and the score remained 8-1. Washington ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Kaitlin Inglesby singled while the bases were loaded. Washington beat the ’Birds 9-1.
Oklahoma 11, ISU 6
The Redbirds were down 8-0 when they fought back to score more runs against the Sooners (4-2) than any team had since April 14, 2013.
The Sooners scored one run in the first inning and five runs in the second. Vissering replaced Taylor Baxter, and she allowed a two-RBI singles in the top of the third to make it 8-0, Sooners.
The Redbirds came back into the game by earning six runs in the third. Stephanie Gallant singled with runners on first and second before Romshek smashed a three-run homer to cut the deficit in half, 8-4, Oklahoma. When Kara Repp stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, she doubled to left and two more Redbirds scored, making it 8-6. The Sooners made it an 11-6 game when Brittany Williams hit a three-run homer. ISU’s offense could not compete against the Sooners and took the loss, 11-6.
ISU 11, San Jose State 3
San Jose State scored the first runs of the game in the top of the third, but Redbirds answered with five of their own. Brittny Drish and Repp singled to start the inning and advanced to third when SJSU misplayed Repp’s hit. Drish scored on a wild pitch right before Bradley’s single scored Repp to tie the game 2-2.Harrison walked and Canopy singled to load the bases. Gallant hit a sacrifice fly to center that brought Bradley home. Kolby Hoffman scored Harrison with a single right before Jordan de los Reyes sent Canopy home on a fielder’s choice.
ISU scored another five runs in the bottom of the fourth, making it 10-2. The Spartans hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth, but the Redbirds ended the game with the run-rule victory. Canopy scored from first with two outs when a high pop up was dropped, making the final score 11-3, ISU.
“You can hit [off] anybody, but you’ve got to get them back-to-back. We’ve talked about the process, what it takes to have a good at bat. I thought they really settled in and executed that very well in that third inning,” ISU head coach Melinda Fischer said.
Arizona State 4, ISU 2
ISU put runs on the board in the top of the third inning. ASU’s Dallas Escobedo stood in the circle against ISU having only allowed one run this season and sent eight-straight Redbirds back to the dugout before Repp walked with two outs. Bradley cranked the ball over the fence in left field to give ISU the 2-0 lead.
Baxter retired the first 11 batters she was up against, with three of them being strike outs. Harrison and Kelsey Turczyn both made diving catches to retire two batters. In the fifth, ASU scored four runs against Baxter to take the lead and the Redbirds could not back a comeback. The ’Birds only had two hits against Escobedo.
ISU 4, SIUE 3
ISU beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in extra innings 4-3 on Sunday to finish up at the ASU Littlewood Classic. The Cougars scored their first three runs against Baxter before Romshek replaced her. She held the Cougars scoreless for the final 6.2 innings.
Hoffman hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second, and the ’Birds evened the score in the bottom of the sixth. Gallant singled being Lindsey Green replaced her. Romshek then hit a double to the left center wall which allowed Greene to run home to make it 3-3.
The seventh inning remained scoreless and the Cougars advanced a runner to third on a sacrifice bunt to send the teams into extra innings. Gallant brought in the game-winning run with a two-out eighth-inning single. Bradley crossed home plate as Gallant dove head first into the first base bag.
“That was a tremendous effort. She [Gallant] made it what it was, dive slide into first. It’s not something you recommend a whole lot, but that was definitely an appropriate time to use it,” Fischer said. “It was an exciting finish.”
The ’Birds will head back to Florida for the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Feb. 21-23.