Saturday, May 19, 2012
Sports News

Redbirds fall 6-0 to No. 9 Missouri in NCAA opener

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[May 19, 2012]  COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Illinois State offense could get nothing going against No. 9 Missouri and its starting pitcher Chelsea Thomas, as the Redbirds were held to just three hits in a 6-0 loss to the Tigers in their opening game of the NCAA regional Friday evening in Columbia, Mo.

ISU (35-22) saw its best scoring opportunity come in the top of the first, when junior Jhavon Hamilton led off the game with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Thomas recorded back-to-back strikeouts to strand Hamilton 60 feet away.

Missouri (44-12) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. Mackenzie Sykes led off the frame with a walk and Jenna Marston reached on a fielder's choice before Ashley Fleming cleared the bases with a two-run double to left center.

Both pitchers settled in after the first, and neither team would score again until Missouri manufactured a run in its half of the fifth. Kayla Kingsley started the inning with a bunt single to third and advanced to third base when Corrin Genovese reached on a two-base throwing error by Redbird starter Jordan Birch. Two batters later, Kingsley scored on a sacrifice fly from Sykes to push the MU advantage to 3-0.

The Tiger bats came alive in the sixth, as Missouri plate three more runs on six hits, including a two-run homer by Kelsea Roth that chased Birch. Megan Warner came out of the bullpen and surrendered three hits, including an RBI single by pinch hitter Angela Randazzo, before finally getting out of the inning.

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Thomas surrendered just two hits and struck out six in her six innings of work to earn the victory in the circle. Bailey Erwin tossed the final inning for the Tigers, allowing a two-out, infield single to sophomore Kolby Hoffman, before sealing the win.

Illinois State will play at 5:30 p.m. against Massachusetts, which fell to DePaul 3-0 in Friday's opening game. Missouri moves on to play the Blue Demons in Saturday's opening contest, scheduled for 3 p.m.

[Text from news release received from John Twork, graduate assistant, athletics communications, Illinois State University]

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