Bears top Redbirds 4-2 in series finale
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[March 19, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Illinois
State softball team dropped its first Missouri Valley Conference
game of the season, as Missouri State prevented a Redbird sweep by
taking the series finale 4-2 at Killian Stadium in Springfield, Mo.,
on Saturday afternoon.
ISU (15-13, 2-1 MVC) took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first
on a two-run double by sophomore Laura Canopy. Juniors Elizabeth Kay
and Lauren Kellar both reached on back-to-back two-out singles prior
to Canopy's double to deep left.
The Bears (10-8, 1-2 MVC)
countered with a pair of runs in their half of the first, scoring
both on Chelsea Jones' two-run single to shallow left. Kirstin
Cutter led off the inning with a single to right, and Rebecca
McPherson followed with a hit to left, before both moved into
scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Stevie Pierce. Jones drove
them both home just two batters later.
After a scoreless second inning, Missouri State was able to
manufacture a run in the bottom of the third to take its first lead
of the series at 3-2. A pair of errors to start the frame allowed
Cutter and McPherson to reach, and Cutter later scored on a delayed
double steal. ISU starter Jordan Birch was able to pitch around a
pair of two-out walks and limit the damage.
MSU doubled its lead in the fourth on an RBI single by McPherson
that plated Kerri Cunningham, who led off the frame with a pinch-hit
single. Missouri State starter Natalie Rose allowed just one hit
over the next three innings, and the Redbirds would not threaten
again until the seventh.
[to top of second column]
Trailing 4-2 heading into their half of the seventh, the Redbirds
got a pair of leadoff base runners in freshman Stephanie Gallant and
fellow freshman Lindsey Greene. Gallant coaxed a leadoff walk, and
Greene drove a single through the left side. Rose countered by
getting a groundout and a strikeout for the first two outs of the
inning. ISU loaded the bases when junior Jhavon Hamilton was
intentionally walked, but Rose was able to retire Kellar on strikes
to seal the win.
Birch fell to 8-8 on the season, allowing four runs, three
earned, on five hits. The Monroe, Wash., native notched three
strikeouts, while issuing three free passes. Freshman Sophia Perez
tossed a scoreless inning in relief to complete the pitching line
for Illinois State.
The Redbirds will be at home next weekend, for the first time this season, when they continue MVC play by hosting Wichita State for a
three-game set beginning Saturday at noon.
[Text from file received from