Redbird Softball Falls to No. 15/13 Texas and No. 20 Tennessee
March 7, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Abby Olson hit two home runs Sunday, but her offensive performance was not enough as the Illinois State softball team fell to No. 15/13 Texas, 6-3, and No. 20 Tennessee, 8-4, Sunday at the Tennessee Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.
In the first game, Texas (17-3) got an early jump on Illinois State (9-8) as the first four Longhorn batters crossed the plate. Courtney Craig doubled to right center field and was driven in by Lexy Bennett, who singled down the third base line and advanced to second on a Redbird error. Bennett advanced to third on a wild pitch, while Loryn Johnson was walked to put two Longhorns on base for Amy Hooks, who hit a three-run home run to give Texas a four-run lead.
In the bottom of the first, Jhavon Hamilton quickly got on base with a single to the left side of the Longhorn infield. Olson drove a two-run shot over the right field fence for her fifth homer of the season. Olson's homer cut the Longhorn's lead to two.
ISU would continue to chip away at UT's lead in the bottom of the second when Caiti Kopp, who was the leadoff batter for the Redbirds, singled to the shortstop. Lauren Kellar walked and advanced Kopp over to second. Kara Nelson would hit into a fielder's choice that forced Kopp out at third. Hamilton would also reach first on a fielder's choice, but Kellar would beat the throw at third to load the bases for Olson. The junior third baseman hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field that pushed Kellar across for the third Redbird run cutting the Texas lead to one.
Illinois State and Texas would not score a run in the third and fourth innings, but the Longhorns would get back on the board in the top of the fifth when Bennett singled up the middle, but was out on a fielder's choice at second from Olson to Nelson. Johnson reached first on the fielder's choice and advanced to second on a Redbird error. Hooks singled up the middle for her second hit of the game and drove in Johnson increasing the Texas lead by two runs.
Texas got on the board again in the top of the seventh when a Longhorn run was driven in by Bennett. Texas stretched its lead to three runs in the seventh inning. ISU would not get a run across in the seventh to end the game, 6-3.
In the first inning of the second game, Olson sent a hard line drive off of the right field wall for a single, but would not score, while Tennessee's first three batters were retired.
With one out in the second inning and the bases loaded for the Lady Vols, Megan Warner fielded a grounder by Ashley Andrew and threw out Jessica Spigner at the plate for the second out of the inning. However, ISU would allow a Tennessee (13-4) run to score on a Redbird error before ending the inning.
After being hit by a pitch, Tennessee's Kat Dotson stole home and recorded the second Lady Vol run in the bottom of the third.
Olson recorded her second hit of the game and got the Redbirds on the board in the top of the fourth with a home run over the right field fence. The homer was Olson's second of the day and sixth on the season. The Hartsburg, Ill., native's one-run shot cut Tennessee's lead to one.
Nicole Kajitani hit a two-run shot over the center field fence to start a strong offensive inning for the Lady Vols in the bottom of the sixth. Kelly Grieve doubled to deep center field and drove in two Tennessee runs. Back-to-back doubles to right center field drove in two UT runs to increase Tennessee's lead to seven runs.
ISU fought back in the top of the seventh when Emma Clark, who pinch hit for Beth Current, singled through the left side of the field and drove in Elizabeth Kay cutting Tennessee's lead to six. Shelby Music and Kopp were walked to load the bases for Nelson, who drove in Clark and Music with a double down the right field line to shorten Tennessee's lead to four, but it would not be enough as ISU left the bases loaded to end the game.
Illinois State will travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to take on SEMO for a midweek game Thursday afternoon before traveling to Columbia, Mo., to compete in the Tiger Invitational hosted by Missouri. ISU will face San Diego State and New Mexico Saturday before taking on No. 4/3 Missouri Sunday afternoon.
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