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Errors Abundant as ISU softball drops series against Drake

Written by on April 1, 2024

NORMAL, Ill. — ISU softball fell short two games to one in their weekend feud with the Drake Bulldogs at Marian Kneer Stadium.

Game One: DU 10, ISU 3

The Redbirds held the lead until the Bulldogs tied up the game at three apiece with a solo home run by Desti Lewis.

ISU pitching struggles became the deciding factor in game one. Hannah Meshnick started in the circle for the Redbirds and tossed two and 1/3 innings. Paige McLeod came in for relief and was responsible for the Lewis home run. The freshman was charged with the loss and struck out two in four innings of work.

The Redbirds added three errors in the top of the seventh which the Bulldogs offense took full advantage to score seven runs in their final at bat.

Offensively, the Redbirds combined for eight hits with Bella Wilkerson and Hanna Hicks each with an RBI.

“I didn’t think we executed defensively, we got behind in the count with our pitching and we handed them a lot of runs there,” ISU head coach Tina Kramos said.

Game Two: ISU 8, DU 2

Kramos’ team flipped the script in the second contest. Three Redbird home runs allowed them to take the game.

“I told them that we were a lot more capable than the performance that we put out there,” Kramos said. “We did not bring all three aspects of our game, the pitching, the hitting and the defense. If we brought those to the next game, we could compete and win it.”

Jayden Standish led the Redbirds’ first bat-off with a two-run blast to right field.

“I just wanted to attack.” Standish said, “I’d been struggling a little bit in that first game, and I just wanted to get ahead in the count.”

ISU’s offense responded to the third basemen’s homer to compile a five-run first inning.

Delainey Bryant launched one over the fence to kick off the Redbirds’ next at-bat. The other middle infielder, Ella Boyer led off the fifth inning with a solo shot of her own to add on the afternoon. Bryant added a steal to the stat sheet to remain perfect through six attempts.

The Redbird pitchers came out with a different approach in the second game.

Meshnick was in the circle once again and shut out the Bulldogs through four innings. This earned the sophmore her fifth win on the season

ISU found themselves in a bases-loaded jam so they called upon McLeod. The freshman pitched her way into a 1-2-3 double play to end the fifth at bat for the Bulldogs.

“It felt pretty great to come into a high-pressure situation, with the bases-loaded and one out and have Bella (Wilkerson) turn that for us,” McLeod said.

In opposition to the first game, McLeod shut down the Bulldog offense and did not allow a single run.

The Redbirds would contribute to 11 hits in the matinee to secure the victory.

Game 3: DU 1, ISU 0

In a highly contested game with no runs scored through five innings, the Bulldogs capitalized on an error to take the series finale.

Ella Boyer, who fielded two routine groundballs earlier in top of the sixth inning, had trouble fielding a hard-hit grounder and over throw her first baseman, Abby Knight. The shortstop’s error would allow the Bulldogs to score the only run of the day on an RBI single by Skylar Rigby.

Offensively, the Redbirds struggled to close out the series only converting four hits, with two from Knight and two from Bryant. Bryant is up a 13 game hit streak and 20 consecutive game of reaching on base after her performance.

“It feels good. I think my team does a really good job of supporting me and cheering me on all along the way. I just go up with confidence and hit my pitch,” the second baseman said.

Meshnick was back out in the ring for her third straight start of the series. The sophomore sent three down on four and 1/3 innings.

“Three starts can definitely get tiring sometimes but it’s important to just stay focused.” Meshnick said, “I think I did a better job today missing barrels and obviously, Paige (McLeod) did a great job in relief today.”

McLeod also made her final appearance of the series and tossed the remainder of the game.

After the series clash with the Bulldogs, the Redbirds drop to 12-24 on the season and 6-5 in MVC games.

“We’ll try to execute the things we weren’t able to do in this series and try to rally into the next series,” Kramos said on her approach for future games.

ISU softball will look to bounce back after this series and head to the Windy City for a series with UIC on Friday at Flames Field.