Redbirds Pick Up Their First Win at Home
Written by kmmaye2 on April 7, 2019
NORMAL – Home runs were the highlight of the series between the Redbirds and UNI, and the series finale was no different as ISU picked up a 6-5 victory at home.
After dropping both games of the doubleheader on Saturday, Redbird softball rebounded Sunday afternoon with their first win at Marian Kneer Stadium this season.
“It was huge,” said ISU Head Coach Melinda Fischer. “I thought we competed 100% better than we did yesterday. We have a totally different mindset and approach to go after them and it definitely paid off.”
Things went the Redbirds way in the bottom of the 1st inning. Their first two batters got walked and UNI pulled their starter after 12 pitches and a wild pitch that advanced Shannon Felde to second. ISU quickly opened up the scoring after Allison Spence hit a 2-RBI single up the middle to give ISU a quick 2-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Morgan Day found herself in a bit of a jam in the 3rd inning. The first 2 batters of the inning got on base, then Day intentionally walked Sammey Bunch, who leads UNI in home runs. The Sophomore walked the next batter to put the score at 2-1. Day was able to get out of the inning without further damage thanks to a leaping catch on the warning track in right field by Riley Hale.
“Riley Hale made a game changing catch in right field,” said Fischer. “That was huge, huge, huge.”
ISU increased their lead in the bottom half of the inning off a two-run homer from Andrea Coursey to bring their lead to 4-1. However, the Panthers responded with a leadoff homerun in the top of the 4th, another game-changer for ISU.
“She came up big in that game today,” said Fischer. “I think she’s been able to put a good swing on a good pitch and really drive the ball for us.”
In the bottom of the inning, Hale got a leadoff single, but advanced to second on an overthrow by the shortstop. Two batters later, Taylor Vanderpool hit a sacrifice bunt toward second. But, after another error by UNI, Vanderpool was safe and Hale came around to score to make it 5-2 ISU. UNI’s defensive struggles continued in the following at bat as Felde hit an infield grounder that scored their 6th run of the game.
The Panthers respond in the top of the 5th with a 2-run homer, giving ISU a 6-4 lead. They continue to threaten with a runner on base, but the Redbird defense refused to allow a run until the top of the 7th when UNI hit another home run to give the Redbirds a 6-5 lead.
With a runner on first and a 1-run lead, Catcher Brittni LaFountaine caught the baserunner trying to steal second, giving ISU their first out of the inning. The Redbirds survived a 7th inning scare as Vanderpool made a diving stop at second to throw out the runner at first.
The Redbirds return to Marian Kneer Stadium Wednesday afternoon for a doubleheader against the Bradley Braves. WZND will have live coverage of the game beginning at 2:50.