ILLINOIS BEGINS SEASON WITH A PAIR OF VICTORIES
Feb. 8, 2003
Grand Prairie, Texas - The University of Illinois Softball team began the 2003 season with two victories Saturday, defeating Louisiana-Monroe 10-3 and Texas-Arlington 5-0 in the first day of action at the Maverick Classic in Grand Prairie, Texas at the Jennifer McFalls Softball Complex, after lighting troubles on the campus of Texas-Arlington forced a change in venues. Illinois improves to 2-0 on the young season.
"We were excited to finally take the field today and play for the first time in the 2003 season,"said head coach Terri Sullivan. "Today was a team effort. There were many big plays and some great individual efforts, but it was a total team win. The coaching staff was really pleased to start the season off with a great team performance with two wins like this. We still have some work to do tomorrow, so we want to be ready to play with this momentum we have gained from today."
Illinois, which pounded out 13 hits in the first game of the season, got on top early in the first game of the day and never looked back. With two outs in the first inning and in her first collegiate atbat, freshman Jenna Hall smacked a line-drive opposite field two run home run to give the Illini some breathing room in the early going.
Hall wasn't the only Illini to hit a big fly on the day. Junior leftfielder Sarah Baumgartner hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to dead center and then followed it up with a solo shot in the top of the seventh, just part of her 2-3, four RBI afternoon. Junior catcher Janna Sartini also provided a spark of her own with a towering 3-run bomb in the top of the seventh, just two pitches before Baumgartner's.
Junior Sherri Taylor threw five solid innings to earn the win, gave up three runs on six hits and struck out eight batters. Junior Amanda Fortune and freshman Jackelyn Diekemper each pitched one inning in relief to close out the Illinois victory.
The second game of the afternoon did not have as much offense, but did feature an excellent pitching performance by Fortune. She threw a complete game shutout, striking out seven, while scattering five hits.
Texas-Arlington committed four errors, three of which helped the Orange and Blue plate four of their five runs in the fifth inning. Freshman centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi, a Fort Worth native, went 1-3, scored two runs and drove in two runs in the fifth inning, while LeeAnn Butcher went 2-3 and had one RBI.
Illinois returns to action Sunday as they face New Mexico at 11 a.m. The 1:30 p.m. games will feature seed 1 vs. seed 2 and seed 3 vs. seed 4.