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Illinois State Rallies to Edge Liberty, 3-2

February 21, 2015  Gainesville, Fla.   RSS
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Madison Kotchey recorded a single on Saturday against Illinois State.

Madison Kotchey recorded a single on Saturday against Illinois State.

Illinois State used a three-run third inning to propel the Redbirds past Liberty, 3-2, on Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

With the win, Illinois State moves its season record to 6-7. The Redbirds are 2-1 so far at the Aquafina Invitational. Liberty sustains its third setback in a row, falling to 4-8 on the campaign.

Junior Regan Romshek improved to 5-3 with a complete-game victory during which she allowed two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.

Liberty redshirt junior Chandler Ball (3-4) pitched a complete game, yielding three runs on nine hits while striking out two and walking three.

Illinois State senior Stephanie Gallant went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI, while junior Payton Billups batted 2-for-3 and scored one run.

Junior Mickey Loveridge hit 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Senior Jamie Crisp and freshmen Madison Kotchey and Tori Zavodny recorded one hit apiece.

The Lady Flames went ahead during the top of the first inning. Senior Megan Robinson drew a leadoff walk, and Loveridge came through with a two-out double for a 1-0 advantage. After a walk to freshman Alexia Taylor, Romshek fanned junior Katie Han for the third out.

Ball worked through a one-out jam in the first, leaving runners on second and by retiring the final two batters.

Liberty left a pair on base in the second inning, as Crisp and Zavodny both reached base before a Robinson popout ended the rally.

The Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs during their second at bat on singles by senior Lindsey Greene and freshman Alex Caliva and a walk to sophomore Annie Heineman. Ball escaped the threat, getting senior Kara Repp to line out.

Illinois State broke through with a one-out rally in the bottom of the third. Romshek and Billups singled, and Gallant followed with a three-run blast over the fence in left.

After a pair of 1-2-3 innings, the Lady Flames sliced the deficit in half with a fifth-inning tally. Zavodny singled, and Romshek then hit Robinson with a pitch. After Romshek fanned Allen, Robinson got caught in a rundown, giving Zavodny time to score, making it 3-2.

The first two Redbirds singled during the fifth stanza. After a sacrifice bunt, Ball got freshman Caitlyn Daly to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Both teams went in order in the sixth inning, bringing Liberty to bat for the final time. Kotchey sent a pinch-hit single to left to lead off the seventh. With pinch runner Cassie Gingerich on second following a sacrifice, Romshek struck out the final two batters to hold on for the 3-2 win.

The Lady Flames finish their time at the Aquafina Invitational at 6:45 p.m. this evening, taking on 2014 Atlantic Sun runner-up Mercer.