For the first time this season the Illinois State softball team (20-24, 12-5 MVC) dominated the fields to earn its first three-game series sweep over Evansville (16-28, 4-15 MVC). The three wins over the Purple Aces extend ISU’s winning streak to four.
“That was the mission coming in, to start, stay and finish strong. I thought we kept our energy up and got a lot of contribution from a lot of different players,” head coach Melinda Fischer said. “I thought Jordan [De los Reyes] was a good contributor offensively,” Fischer added.
Game One- ISU 13, Evansville 2
In game one Evansville took the lead with a two-run home run with Regan Romshek in the circle. The Redbirds responded with the game’s final 13 runs.
The ’Birds scored five runs in the bottom of the first. Nichelle Harrison singled while Romshek walked, before Jordan de los Reyes doubled to send Harrison home. Sara Bradley smashed the ball to left-center to plate three more. When Stephanie Gallant came up to the plate she hit a solo blast to extend ISU’s lead.
Harrison tripled and scored on an illegal pitch to give the ’Birds another run, 6-2. In the third the Redbirds got two more runs on a throwing error for an 8-2 advantage.
De los Reyes’s single sent Laura Canopy home in the fourth before Gallant cranked out a grand slam for her second home run of the game. This put the ’Birds at 13-2 before Romshek controlled Evansville to end the game on a run-rule victory.
Game Two- ISU 8, Evansville 2
ISU took control early and the Redbirds scored four runs in the first. Canopy and Harrison were hit by pitches to get on base before an Evansville error sent Canopy sprinting home for the first run of the game. When De los Reyes came to bat in the first, she crushed a three-run homer to extend the Redbirds’ lead to 4-0.
In the top of the fourth Evansville scored on a solo homerun. A RBI single to right field gave them another run to cut the score in half, 4-2, ISU.
In the bottom of the fourth Harrison doubled to score Kaitlyn Knary and advance Canopy to third. Canopy scored on a wild pitch to give the ’Birds a 6-2 advantage.
Gallant’s double sent Bradley home in the fifth, before De los Reyes smashed a home run to center field, 8-2. The Purple Aces were unable to score in the seventh and ISU won 8-2.
“Taylor [Baxter] really kept them off balance. [Baxter] seemed to lose a little bit of steam in that sixth inning, but I thought came and finished that seventh inning really strong,” Fischer said.
Game Three- ISU 10, Evansville 0
The Redbirds came out with four runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead, 4-0. In the third, Kara Repp scored on a groundout by Harrison to give ISU a 5-0 advantage. The Redbirds continued to score in with five runs in the fourth all scored on two outs.
Romshek threw a one, two, three fifth to secure ISU’s first three-game series sweep of the season and Romshek’s third shutout. This moved her record to 13-14 on the season.
ISU’s rival, Bradley University, will travel to Normal on Tuesday. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Marian Kneer Stadium.