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ISU softball falls to fighting Illini, 7-4

In a non-conference game against University of Illinois (17-13, 1-5 B1G), the Illinois State Redbirds (12-20, 4-2 MVC) dropped the contest 7-4, at Marian Kneer Stadium in Normal. The game was originally scheduled for today, but was moved to Tuesday due to poor weather predictions.

“We weren’t getting on base that much and that’s usually our strong point, getting on base. We usually leave them on, not not get on,” third baseman Sara Bradley said.

In the top of the first inning Illinois took the lead 2-0, with a home run and a RBI single. Laura Canopy hit a leadoff single for the ’Birds but was thrown out at second on an attempted steal.

The Redbirds had a one, two, three inning in the top of the second, but were unable to score any runs their time around. In the top of the fourth, Taylor Baxter entered the circle to replace Regan Romshek, after Illinois hit a home run to bring the score to 3-0. Bradley stepped to the plate for the Redbirds and clobbered a three-run home run to bring the score to 5-3, Illinois.

“We started a little too late with our bats,” head coach Melinda Fischer said. “She [Bradley] battled … And we definitely needed that at that point.”

The Illini got a RBI-groundout in the fifth to extend their lead, 6-3. ISU was unable to tally up any more runs and trailed Illinois 7-3 in the sixth. Romshek reentered the circle right before Jordan de los Reyes threw out an attempted base stealer. Bradley then received a grounder and threw it to first for another out.

Canopy had a hit to center field to drive home Heineman in the seventh, but the rest of the ’Birds could not reach home plate. ISU fell to U of I, 7-4.

The ’Birds face Southern Illinois and return to Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend in a three-game series at Southern.

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