Patton, Redbirds Sink Temple, 6-1
March 3, 2006
PLANT CITY, Fla. - Illinois State senior Randi Patton hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and the Redbirds never looked back in earning a 6-1 win over the Temple Owls in the Plant City Tournament opener on Friday evening.
"Today we put the ball in play and we were able to do some really nice things on the bases," ISU head coach Melinda Fischer said. "We did have some difficulty with the bases loaded but overall I was pleased with how we played today. Stacy (Birk) did a really nice job coming in in relief. We saw some things that carried over from last weekend, now we just need to see what tomorrow brings."
With one out Tricia Gaither reached on a fielder's choice and crossed the plate on Patton's home run as the `Birds took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. ISU also added a run in the third. Patton reached with one out and moved to second on a two-out infield single by Kelsey Warning. Katie Guilbault then drove Patton in with a single to centerfield as the Redbirds increased their lead to three.
The Owls (1-5) erased the shutout with two down in the fourth inning. Shawn Casey hit a one-out single to right field, and moved to second when Courtney Norene walked with two outs. Lauren Evans then drove in Temple's only run of the game with a single to right field.
ISU (4-6) used the double steal to put another run on the board in the fifth. Patton reached on a leadoff walk and advanced to third on Amber Smith's single to left. The pair then executed the double steal to make it 4-1 Redbirds.
Again it was Patton rallying the Redbirds in the seventh after being walked a third straight time. Smith then reached on an error, putting `Birds on the corners. With two outs, Guilbault was walked to load the bases, and pinch hitter Christy Colgan also got a base on balls to push the ISU lead to back up to four. Kaprice Williams then singled to centerfield, driving in ISU's final run of the contest.
Stacy Birk (3-2), who earned the win in relief, surrendered no hits and one walk while striking out seven in just over three innings. Starter Shannon Nicholson tossed the first three and two-thirds frames. She gave up just four hits while walking one and striking out one.
Williams led the `Birds with two hits, while Patton was one-for-one with a pair of RBI and three walks. Patton, who scored each time she reached base on Friday, tied the Illinois State single game record for runs scored with four.
Saturday, Illinois State takes on Buffalo at 12:30 p.m. and Toledo at 3 p.m. CST.