Auburn Softball Loses Two At NFCA Leadoff Classic


Feb. 26, 2010

Columbus, Ga. - Illinois State held off a ninth-inning rally by the Tigers as the Redbirds claimed a 5-4 win over the Auburn softball team Friday evening at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

Auburn moved to 7-5 with the loss, while Illinois State improved to 7-3 with the win. The Tigers will take on Virginia Tech at 10 a.m. CT and Southern Illinois at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday in the second day of the Leadoff Classic.

Anna Thompson took the loss in relief for Auburn to fall to 3-4. Thompson allowed four runs, only one earned, on four hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 5.0 innings of relief work. Thompson came in for starter Jenee Loree who went 4.0 IP and allowed one run, unearned, on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Jordan Birch earned the win for Illinois State to improve to 1-2. Birch went 9.0 innings, allowing four runs, only one earned, on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

With Jhavon Hamilton at second to start the ninth, Abby Olson smacked her fourth home run of the season well over the wall in left to give the Redbirds a 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kyndall White was put at second and came around to score on a leadoff double to right-center by Amber Harrison to make it a 5-4 deficit. Kelsey Cartwright then hit a blooper that second baseman Kara Nelson dropped, allowing Harrison to move to third and Cartwright to second.

Caitlin Schutlze popped out to short for the first out and Caitlin Stangl popped up to third baseman Olson who threw back to the bag to double-off Harrison and end the game. The double-play marked a furious finish to the game for both teams.



In the eighth inning, Niki Stansell was placed at second on the tie-breaker rule, and Beth Current put down a sacrifice bunt to move her to third. Shelby Music was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. After a strikeout, Nelson laced crisp single up the middle to score Stansell to give Illinois State a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Lindsey Harrelson was put on second and moved to third on a sac bunt by Lauren Guzman. Krista Clyde followed with a ground out to first that failed to score Harrelson. Kelley Smiley then hit a ground ball to second that Nelson fielded clean, but threw wild to first for an error which allowed Harrelson to score and tie the game at 3-3.

Illinois State used a two-out rally for the first run of the game. Michelle Henderson reached on a passed ball on a swinging third strike and moved to second on a two-out walk to Music. Lauren Keller gave the Redbirds a 1-0 lead with an RBI single under a diving Guzman at shortstop.

The lead was brief for Illinois State. After Smiley opened the bottom of the fourth by reaching on an error, White gave the Tigers the lead with a two-run home run to left. It was White's second home run of the season and made it a 2-1 game.

The Redbirds got the leadoff hitter on to start the seventh when Nelson singled sharply up the middle off Thompson. Pinch-hitter NIchelle Harrison failed to move the runner over when her bunt attempt was popped up to White at third for the first out of the inning. Olson then drew a walk to put the tying run at second and winning run at first. Emma Clark came in to run for Olson.

Thompson then responded by striking out Elizabeth Kay for the second out. Henderson then hit a pop-up to first that was dropped by Smiley, allowing Nelson to score from second and tie the game. Clark advanced to third on the play. Thompson ended the frame when she got Stansell looking at strike three for the third out.

Pitcher Kylie Reynolds tossed an eight-inning no-hitter and Kent State took advantage of an Auburn throwing error to claim a 1-0 victory in softball Friday afternoon at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

Auburn dropped to 7-4 and Kent State earned their first win of the season to go to 1-5. The Tigers return to action when they take on Illinois State at 3 p.m. CT Friday.

With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Sarah Starr was placed at second on the automatic tiebreaker rule. After Auburn pitcher Anna Thompson struck out the first two batters of the frame, Starr broke for third on a steal attempt.

Auburn catcher Elizabeth Eisterhold threw to third with no one covering, allowing Starr to score and give Kent State the victory.

Thompson (3-3) took the loss for Auburn despite striking out 11 of 14 batters faced in 4.2 innings of relief work. Thompson did not allow a hitter to reach base. It marked Thompson's second loss of the season on an AU error in extra-innings. Thompson also took the loss against Georgia State in the eighth inning on a throwing error despite not allowing a hitter to reach base.

Reynolds improved to 1-5 in earning the win for Kent State. Reynolds went the distance, going 8.0 innings and issuing five walks. Reynolds fanned 12 batters and had one hit-by-pitch.