|Redbirds win three, get burned by Sun Devils|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 20 February 2012 17:09|
The ISU softball team downed its first three opponents before succumbing to its final two in the Littlewood Classic this past weekend in Tempe, Ariz.
“I thought we really came out strong from an offensive standpoint in the first three games,” ISU head coach Melinda Fischer said. “I thought we came out very fundamentally sound in all areas. I thought we got strong pitching performances by Jordan [Birch] and Megan [Warner].”
Illinois State 10, Iowa State 2 (six innings)
The Redbirds scored twice in the second inning off of a solo homer by sophomore Laura Canopy, and then again with sophomore Nichelle Harrison using a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and go up 2-0. A string of hits in the third inning gave ISU two more runs for a 4-0 advantage.
The Cyclones plated two runs in the fourth inning to cut their deficit 4-2. But Illinois State continued to inflict damage in the fifth inning, scoring four more runs, two of which came courtesy of a triple off the bat of sophomore Kolby Hoffman, putting the ’Birds ahead 8-2.
The game concluded in the sixth inning as the Redbirds recorded two more runs and won the game 10-2.
ISU 7, Iowa 2
Iowa scored a run in the first and second inning to grab a 2-0 advantage, while the Redbirds were held hitless through the first three innings. But ISU leveled the playing field in the fourth inning, using four hits to plate two runs and make it 2-2.
The Redbirds plated five runs in the top of the seventh inning to go up 7-2. ISU pitcher Jordan Birch struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh, totaling 14 strikeouts in the game and defeating the Hawkeyes.
ISU 11, Central Michigan 3 (six innings)
After the first two and a half innings were scoreless, ISU made a dent in the scoreboard with Redbirds crossing the plate five times in the bottom of the third as three of those runs came off of a three-run home run from sophomore Sara Bradley.
The Chippewas started their scoring in the top of the fourth inning, plating three runs to make it 5-3. ISU scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, followed by Hoffman hitting her first career home run to drive in three runs and make it 9-3 after four innings.
The Redbirds crossed the plate two more times in the sixth inning to give them an 11-3 victory.
ISU 0, Minnesota 9 (five innings)
A solo home run gave the Golden Gophers the lead in the first inning and Minnesota tacked on three more runs in the third to grab a 4-0 advantage. A duo of home runs in the fourth inning increased the Gophers’ lead to 9-0 and dealt out a decision to ISU.
The ’Birds recorded only two hits in the game, both coming from junior Lauren Kellar.
“I just felt like it wasn’t quite the same team that we had seen in the previous three games, for whatever reason,” Fischer said.
ISU 3, Arizona State 14 (five innings)
The Sun Devils posted a run in the first inning off of a two-out solo homer. ISU took a 2-1 lead over the reigning National Champions in the second inning, starting with a homerun from junior Elizabeth Kay, followed by a string of hits to push another run across.
But ASU turned the game upside down in the bottom of the second inning, plating 11 runs for a 12-2 handle on the game. The Sun Devils went through two ISU pitchers before senior Megan Warner entered the game and ended the inning with a strike out after the Sun Devils had nine-straight batters reach base and recorded seven hits.
“I thought we battled pretty well for a couple of innings and then they just got the best of us in one big inning,” Fischer said.
ASU picked up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and ISU’s final run came in the form of a solo home run from Kellar in the top of the fifth inning to make the final score 14-3.