Redbirds Split Doubleheader With UNI After Mercy Rule
Written by Jack Podlesnik on May 1, 2021
Photo courtesy of goredbirds.com
NORMAL, Ill. – Saturday saw the Redbirds host conference-rival Northern Iowa in doubleheader action. Illinois State won game one in comeback fashion, while game two ended after five innings in a blowout.
In game one, the ‘Birds fell down 4-2 after five-and-a-half innings. In the bottom of the sixth, though, ISU put up a flurry of runs to take their first lead of the game. Senior Brittni LaFountaine singled left and brought freshman Jayden Standish home. An error by the UNI shortstop resulted in Rebecca Moffett scoring a run for the ‘Birds. The error also put Mack Leonard on third. To finish the scoring, a Dayna Kennedy pop fly was caught out, but was able to bring Leonard across home plate from third and give the Redbirds a 5-4 lead. ISU did not surrender any runs in the top of the seventh, clinching victory.
Game two was a much different story. The visiting Panthers held a 2-0 lead to start the fourth inning. They then proceeded to over quadruple their lead all in that single inning, tallying 7 runs against the combined pitching of Mack Leonard and Hannah Ross. Through a barrage of singles, doubles, and Redbird errors, Northern Iowa built a whopping 9-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. ISU’s only score of game two came courtesy of a Spenser Strandgard RBI. Thanks to her hit to second base, senior third baseman Andrea Coursey ran home from third. The score now read 9-1.
No runs were scored in the fifth inning by either team. Due to the mercy rule, which ends a game if there is an eight-run lead after five innings, the match was ended prematurely.
Illinois State remains atop the Missouri Valley Conference with a 14-4 conference record. UNI still stands second with a conference record of 16-7. The two squads will face off again tomorrow, with first pitch at 11 a.m. Live coverage on 103.3 WZND begins at 10:50 a.m.