Elizabeth Kay's seventh inning homerun was the difference in Illinois State's 6-5 win over Drake on Sunday. (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By WJBC Staff
DES MOINES, Iowa – Entering the seventh inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Buel Field, the Illinois State softball team had scraped across just two runs in 13.2 innings against Drake reliever Rebekah Schmidt. ISU matched that total with two swings of the bat in the seventh inning of a 4-4 game, as solo homers from Elizabeth Kay and Brittny Drish led the Redbirds to a 6-5 victory over the Bulldogs.
With the game tied 4-4 entering the seventh, Kay deposited a 2-2 pitch over the fence in left field for her team-best 10th home run of the season, and second of the series. Three batters later, Drish followed suit for her first-career long ball, doubling the ISU lead moving to the bottom of the seventh.
Regan Romshek, who came on in relief of starter Taylor Baxter in the third inning, walked Macie Silliman to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sophia Perez. Perez allowed Silliman to score before inducing a groundout for the final out with runners on second and third to earn her fourth save of the season.
Kay and Lauren Kellar each went 3-for-4 on the afternoon for the Redbirds (21-17, 6-5 MVC). With her run-scoring single in the first inning, Kay surpassed Heather Stella for the most RBI in program history. The senior from Bartlett, Ill., has 159 in her three-plus seasons as a Redbird, following her two-RBI performance.
Similar to the 4-3 game two loss in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Redbirds jumped out to a 3-0 lead before allowing four unanswered runs. Canopy and Kay recorded back-to-back RBI singles in the first to chase DU (23-16, 9-4 MVC) starter Jordan Gronewold (ND) after just four batters. ISU scored its first run of the series against Schmidt (LP, 10-9) in the second when Kellar’s two-out single plated Kolby Hoffman to make it 3-0 ISU.
Drake came back with four runs in the bottom of the third, three coming against Baxter (ND). Hayley Nybo crushed a three-run homer to chase Baxter, before Romshek (WP, 7-9) surrendered a solo shot to the first batter she faced, Nicole Randel, that put Drake in front, 4-3.
Romshek settled in from there, holding Drake scoreless for the next 3.2 innings while the Redbirds tied the game in the fifth inning. Kay led off with a single before Shelby Music grounded one into left field that brought home Kay and evened the contest at 4-4.
Illinois State returns home for a doubleheader against Indiana State Wednesday, April 17, beginning at 3 p.m., before a five-game road trip to Wichita State and Creighton next weekend.