Redbirds Eliminated from State Farm MVC Tourney
May 13, 2006
OMAHA, Neb. - Illinois State's inability to push runners across coupled with two Wichita State home runs helped the Shockers come-from-behind to claim a 3-1 win over the Redbirds, eliminating them from the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and ending their season. WSU is just the third team to rally from a deficit to beat ISU this year. The `Birds must now wait to see if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The field of 64 will be announced tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNews.
Illinois State (37-14) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With one out, Randi Patton and Amber Smith each reached base courtesy of bases on balls issued by Wichita State starter Margo Pruis. Stacy Birk then lined a shot up the right field line for a double as Patton came around to score for the early lead. Eventually the Redbirds loaded the bases but all three runners were left stranded. The `Birds also left the bases full in the third, finishing the game with 11 runners left on base just one shy of their season high.
Tiffany Prager reached on a leadoff single after beating out the throw to first to start the fourth. Prager moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and charged around this base on Smith's single to left field. Prager appeared to get under the tag at the plate, but the umpire didn't agree as she was called out to end the inning.
With one out in the bottom half of the frame, Wichita State (35-22) countered as Britnee Barnett got on via a Redbird error. Then Ashley Lynn, down in the count 0-1, smacked a home run to left center, putting the Shockers on top by a run.
The Redbirds nearly regained the lead in the fifth. Birk hit a single to right field to start the rally and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Casey Gorrell was then walked by Pruis before Katie Guilbault lined out to third base. Jessie Buker stepped up and hit what would have been her third homer of the season; however her high fly ball got caught up in the wind, holding it in the park as the left fielder made the catch with her back up against the fence.
Barnett gave the Shockers an insurance run with her third home run of the tournament, a first-pitch liner over the fence in left center, which gave WSU a two-run advantage that held up as the final margin.
Birk (21-9) shouldered the loss for the `Birds, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out two. Pruis (20-12) earned the win despite walking seven Redbirds, allowing four hits and fanning four. Barnett picked up her third save of the season in two innings of relief.
Offensively, Birk had a team-high two hits and the only RBI. Smith, Kelsey Warning and Prager had ISU's other three hits. Barnett led the Shockers with two hits and two runs, while Lynn had a pair of RBI.
Warning, Birk and Prager were named to the All-Tournament Team.