|Redbird softball team goes 2-2 in season-opening tournament|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Monday, 15 February 2010 22:33|
No two games followed the same outline in the ISU softball team’s first tournament of the season. The Redbirds traveled to Clearwater, Fla., for the USF-Wilson-DeMarini Tournament where they went 2-2 on the weekend, including a 10-inning loss and a come-from-behind win.
“I think we learned a lot about our team,” head coach Melinda Fischer said. “I feel we have identified some definite strengths and weaknesses. We really learned that we can come from behind and win.”
ISU took on Long Island in its first matchup of the season.
Two errors from the Redbirds in the second inning produced six runs for LIU and the ‘Birds were never able to recover, dropping their first game of the season, 11-4, to the Blackbirds. Junior pitcher Chrissy Burton faced seven batters in the inning before sophomore Megan Warner came in to relieve.
“We had a bad second inning,” Fischer said. “It was a combination of walks, errors and [LIU’s] timely hitting.”
ISU then faced off against tournament host South Florida in its second game of the day.
The game was without a run heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Birch was in the circle for the ‘Birds and made her pitches count during the seventh, striking out the first two batters before forcing a fly ball out of a USF hitter to send the Redbirds into extra innings and put the international tie-breaker rule into effect.
“Anytime you get into that kind of ball game, especially when you get into the international tie-breaker rule, it is interesting and exciting,” Fischer said. “
Senior second baseman Kara Nelson hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to send home freshman Nichelle Harrison for the first run of the game. However, a hit to deep center from a USF hitter brought in a run for the Bulls, leveling the playing field at 1-1 heading into the ninth inning.
Freshman designated hitter Elizabeth Kay hit a double to drive home Niki Stansell, which gave the ‘Birds a 2-1 advantage in the ninth. But the Bulls once again answered with a run of their own to send the game to a 10th inning.
Freshman Elizabeth Clark scored ISU’s lone run in the 10th inning off of back-to-back errors by USF to once again put the game in the hands of the Bulls going into the bottom of the 10th inning. The Redbirds were one out away from the win when two outfielders collided and missed a catch, resulting in the tying run to cross the plate.
A wild pitch soon followed and resulted in another run for USF, ending in a win for the home team, while dropping the ‘Birds to 0-2 to start the season.
Day two of the tournament was a fresh start as ISU took to the field Sunday morning to take on Canisius. Although the Griffins scored the first run of the game, the ‘Birds took the lead early, scoring two runs with the help of a triple from freshman left fielder Jhavon Hamilton. Canisius could not respond with another run for the rest of the game and a two-run home run from Kay sealed the 4-3 victory for ISU’s first win of the season.
In the Redbirds’ final game of the tournament, they had their work cut out for them after Florida Gulf Coast put up four runs in the first inning. However, a five-run third inning was good enough to give the ‘Birds a 5-4 lead.
A single hit by Nelson to score sophomore Caiti Kopp in the seventh, secured the 6-4 win for the Redbirds and jolted the team’s record to 2-2.
“I was really excited about this win,” Fischer said. “We came from behind. [FGCU] really took it to us last season and it was the same pitcher that beat us last season. We were finally able to get better at bats and have better outcomes.”
ISU will next travel to Tempe, Ariz. on Friday for the Arizona State Littlewood Classic.