CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Drake softball team’s (29-28) season came to an end Friday as they dropped its semifinal game to Illinois State (34-21), 3-0, in the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Softball Tournament.
Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa) started the game for the blue and white and took the tough loss. After today’s start, the sophomore now ranks first in Drake’s history in appearances (50) and starts (49) in a single season. She collected her 200th strikeout of the season in the third inning. Gronewold pitched four innings, allowed two hits and one run, while recording one strikeout, before being relieved by freshman Rebekah Schmidt (Cottage Grove, Minn.). Schmidt tossed two innings and surrendered two runs on two hits.
The Bulldogs had the first scoring opportunity in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) hit a one-out single to the gap in left field and Nicole Randel (Alpine, Calif.) and Jaimie Duffek (Brookfield, Ill.) followed with consecutive singles before the Redbirds escaped the inning after Gronewold grounded into a double play.
Illinois State capitalized on Drake’s missed opportunity in the bottom of the inning, taking the lead, 1-0, on Lizzie Andrews’ home run to center field.
Drake continued to pressure ISU starter Jordan Birch in the fifth and sixth innings, getting runners in scoring position early in both innings, but the senior worked herself out of trouble in both innings.
The Redbirds added a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, on a two-run single by Andrews.
Nybo was the top hitter for Drake, going 3-for-3. Randel, Duffek and Liz Buck (Overland Park, Kan.) each added two hits, while Sam West (Kearney, Mo.) had one hit. Buck was the only Drake hitter to record an extra base hit, notching a double in the fifth inning.