After 29 games away from home, the Redbird softball team returned to the newly renovated Marian Kneer Stadium. Illinois State currently owns sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with series wins over Wichita State, Indiana State, and Loyola. The Redbirds nonconference slate featured a historic win over No. 17 Missouri, marking the Redbirds’ first win over the Tigers since 1995 and the first win over a ranked opponent since 2013.

The team’s early schedule prepared them for what the Valley had to offer, winning three of four conference series to date. Most recently, Illinois State topped Loyola with a record-breaking eight home runs in the series finale. The school record eight home runs in a 15-0 win April 9 ties the third-most home runs in a single game in NCAA history. The Redbirds’ four consecutive home runs tied a previous school record from 2010 at Missouri State.

Sophomore Shannon Felde leads the Redbirds with an impressive .453 average and a 21-game hitting streak to begin the season. Senior Jordan de los Reyes is a hot bat for the Redbirds, approaching 200 career hits and both the career RBI and the home run records. Head coach Melinda Fischer is inching closer to the 1,000 win at Illinois State milestone with 998 as of April 13.

The Redbirds have a tough test ahead of them to finish out the 2017 campaign with five conference series on the docket, but the team’s powerful offense has been tough to top this season. At the conclusion of the regular season, Illinois State will serve as host to the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The tournament begins May 11 with games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on the 12th at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. The championship will be Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m.