Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sports News

ISU softball heads to Indiana State

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[April 18, 2012]  NORMAL -- After completing a seven-game homestand last Sunday, the Illinois State softball team is back on the road as it travels to Indiana State Wednesday afternoon for a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. CST at Price Field in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Redbirds (24-19, 9-6 MVC) enter Wednesday's twin bill tied for fourth in the Valley standings, just a half-game back of Creighton. ISU took two of three games from Drake last weekend at Marian Kneer Stadium, winning the first contests, 3-2 and 7-0, before dropping an 11-inning affair 5-4 in Sunday's series finale.

Senior pitcher Jordan Birch went 1-1 in the circle with 23 strikeouts around just one walk in 18 innings, including a career-high 11 innings in Sunday's matchup. Fellow senior Megan Warner earned her third shutout of the season in Saturday's nightcap, scattering six hits without issuing a free pass.

Junior Elizabeth Kay led the Illinois State offense in the series, going 5 for 11 with three runs scored, two doubles and two RBIs, including a 3-for-3 effort in game two.

Sophomore Laura Canopy has been the Redbirds' top hitter this season and enters Wednesday's games with a .333 average, including a .467 mark in league games. Junior Jhavon Hamilton owns a .324 average and has been the squad's top power threat with seven homers and 24 RBIs. Junior Lauren Kellar has reached base safely in her last 12 games and bolsters the ISU lineup with a .284 average and two triples.

In the circle, Birch leads Illinois State's pitching staff with a 14-12 record and 1.83 ERA, the second-best mark in the league. The Monroe, Wash., native leads the Valley with 157 strikeouts and is holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average in her 149.0 innings of work. Warner is currently 9-6 with a 3.59 ERA and has fanned 37 opposing hitters in 95.2 innings. In league contests, Warner is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA and two shutouts.

Indiana State (15-24, 2-12 MVC) split a conference doubleheader with Bradley, after rain forced a cancellation of Saturday's games, in its last Valley series. The Sycamores captured game one of Sunday's double dip 2-1 in eight innings, before falling 4-2 in the nightcap.

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Indiana State's other league win came two weekends ago in Carbondale, when the Sycamores defeated Southern Illinois 4-2.

Indiana State was picked 10th in the MVC Preseason Coaches' Poll and is currently in that position in the league standings, a half-game back of Wichita State. The Sycamores are led by first-year head coach Shane Bouman.

As a team, Indiana State is hitting just .234, but four players boast averages over .300. Hailey Tinsman owns a team-best .346 mark with six doubles, and Megan Stone is hitting .343 and leads the team with 15 stolen bases. Shelby Wilson and Alex Baumgart have posted averages of .321 and .311, respectively, and Wilson leads the squad with 18 RBIs.

In the circle, reigning MVC Pitcher of the Week Lindsey Beisser leads the Sycamore staff with an 8-14 record and 1.86 ERA. Beisser is holding opponents to a .205 batting average and has notched 139 strikeouts in 150 1-3 innings. Ashli Scott, Indiana State's second starter, is 5-8 in the circle with a 2.80 ERA in 75 innings.

Illinois State and Indiana State have met 85 times in series history, with the Redbirds holding a 72-13 advantage. Illinois State swept the three-game set with the Sycamores last season and combined to hit 13 home runs in the series. The Redbirds have won 31 of the last 34 meetings.

[Text from news release received from Dustin Hall, athletics communications, Illinois State University]

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