Double-digit hits gives ISU Saturday sweep
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Illinois State had won eight out of their nine games totaling 10 hits or more, including a win over no. 17 Missouri on Feb. 17.
The Redbirds racked up 10 hits in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against Wichita State at Wilkins Stadium, earning a 5-3 win. ISU tallied 11 hits in game two to score eight runs to earn an 8-3 win over the Shockers, giving the Shockers their first conference losses of the season.
“The big thing for us is we got behind the count way too much,” head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “We threw a lot of 2-0 counts and against a good hitting team, a 2-0 count is a recipe for disaster.”
A collision with an ISU base runner caused sophomore Mauriana Jamele to only get the tag out at second and allowed the first run of game two to score off a fielder’s choice. After a passed ball scored the second run for ISU, Shannon Felde hit a double to left field that gave the Redbirds a 3-0 in the top of the first inning.
The Shockers got two runners on base with a Mackenzie Wright walk and a Kelli Spring single. Wright got back on the base on the attempted pick off in time before being tagged out, but first base umpire Larry Nagel called Wright out.
“That was a killer, a momentum crusher,” Bredbrenner said. “Whether or not the umpire got it right or wrong, I was blocked out so I couldn’t see it. When we’re playing behind, we have to make sure we’re smart on the bases and they caught us sleeping there.”
Freshman Maddison Perrigan followed up with a center field single, a hit that could have scored Wright from second. WSU got the bases loaded, but Mackenzie Adams grounded out to ISU pitcher Ali Domkuski to end the first inning without a run. ISU took advantage in the top of the second, with Riley Strandgard hitting a right centerfield double to extend the Redbirds’ lead 4-0.
Sophomore Laurie Derrico smacked a ball that met the left centerfield fence and bounced back out into the hands of ISU’s Caitlyn Daly. Daly bobbled the ball as it jumped back to the field, resulting in Derrico’s seventh home run of the season that cut Shockers’ deficit to three runs.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether if it’s a home run or not. I hit the ball solid, so that was good for me because I haven’t been doing that all day,” Derrico said. “So when I got the hit, I was happy with it no matter what happened.”
Two consecutive wild pitches by freshman Bailey Klitzke allowed ISU to score another run in the top of the fourth inning. Strandgard managed to get her second RBI of the game with a single to left field and a bases loaded single by Felde gave the Redbirds a 7-1 lead.
ISU”s Veronique Johnson hit two WSU players by pitch and walked Spring to load the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning with no outs, with Perrigan taking a walk to score a run. Spring was tagged out trying to take home after a pop fly to right field, resulting in a two-out swing for the Shockers.
A double by junior McKenzie Adams drove in another WSU run that cut the Redbird deficit to four runs. Freshman Ryleigh Buck struck out swinging as a pinch hitter, leaving two WSU runners stranded as the Shockers managed to get only two runs from a no out, bases loaded opportunity.
“We faced three different types of pitchers, so as hitters we have to make those adjustments,” Perrigan said. “We were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves with runners on base and not trusting our abilities. Just relaxing more tomorrow will help us a lot.”
WSU (16-12, 3-2) wraps up the three-game series with ISU on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Wilkins Stadium.