MORRIS – Redskins freshman pitcher Abby Burns got her fourth shutout of the season Thursday afternoon, striking out 13 in the process. The three-hit effort came against DeKalb in Northern Illinois Big 12 East play, and depending on which side you ask, the 2-1 victory by the Redskins was a result of something different.
Still everyone was in agreement that it came down to cause and effect.
“Her (Burns’) ball was moving well today. She struggled a little bit when it came to hitting her spots but her changeup was effective coming in at their hands. That seemed to work,” Morris coach Jen Lowery said. “She keeps teams off balance with her offspeed stuff, and she has a good defense behind her. They know the ball is coming at them, and they are always ready.”
Burns gave up hits three singles in the game – two to leadoff hitter Abby Taylor and one to No. 3 hitter Morgan Newport.
Otherwise, the game was dominated by the freshman. She yielded one unearned run on a walk to Haley Todd and an RBI single by Newport.
“Like I said to the group [after the game], I think she (Burns) had seven strikeouts, so I’m not taking anything away from her. She did a great job,” DeKalb coach Jeff Davis said. “Then somebody said, ‘It was 13,’ and I immediately stopped the meeting. That’s telling you that we had a terrible approach at the plate.”
Burns said it was a matter of being in a comfort zone in the circle
“Our whole team was doing really good today. I think that keeps me calm with them behind me,” she said. “Knowing that I can throw any pitch and that they are going to hit it and the defense is going to get it.”
Which is not exactly how things were on the other side of the diamond in the two-run fourth inning by Morris in the against losing pitcher Katie Kowalski.
Taya Torkelson got the inning started by hitting a hard one-hopper off the glove of the DeKalb third baseman, and Emily Moore doubled her home.
“She (Moore) had a big hit. She is always pretty clutch for us and comes up with big hits,” Lowery said. “We also capitalized on an error there. We knew this was going to be a dog fight. We capitalized when we needed to.”
On the next play, Burns put down a sacrifice bunt and Moore scored on a throwing error by the DeKalb catcher.
According to Burns, Moore, the Redskins catcher, didn’t just contribute on offense in the win Thursday against the Barbs.
“Emily helps a ton. I have played with her for five years now and I am so comfortable with her. She does a really good job back there. I could probably throw anything up there and she would block it,” Burns said. “She’s a really good hitter. That (hit) helped me a lot.”
Morris is now 12-1 on the season and 2-0 in league action, while DeKalb falls to 8-4 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
“Starting conference play you expect to be better,” Davis said. “We wanted to be the No. 1 or 2 team in the conference, and then we come out and play like this against a conference opponent. It’s just not who we are.”