Jess Perkins hit the Illini's first home run of the year, a 2-run bomb to center, against Texas.
Feb. 16, 2013
Houston, Texas – The University of Illinois softball team defeated in-state rival DePaul (4-4) in the first game, 4-1, but a 12-run sixth inning doomed the Illini against No. 6 Texas (9-0), who fell to the Longhorns, 12-2. After the double-header split, Illinois drops to 4-5 on the year.
"The win over DePaul was a big game for us,” said Head Coach Terri Sullivan. “We talked about needing to score first, and we did that. We wanted to grab some momentum early, and we did. Pepper was then able to use all her pitches; we needed her to do that because DePaul has a lineup that battles at the plate.
“In the Texas game, we took a 2-0 lead into the sixth with stellar pitching from Shelese (she wanted the ball back after yesterday). I could sense, though, that our team was playing just to get six more outs at that point, instead of playing aggressive in the moment. Texas went on to score big after the lead off error.
“We are going to be in that position again. I know this team won't make the same mistake."
Pepper Gay pitched a complete game against DePaul, allowing just four hits and one run to the Blue Demons, in the Illini’s first victory of the weekend. Jess Perkins hit the Illini’s first home run of the season off Longhorn hurler Gabby Smith to put Illinois ahead 2-0, but 11 unearned runs in the sixth inning led No. 6 Texas past the Orange and Blue, 12-2, in six innings.
Game 1: Illinois 4, DePaul 1 | Box Score (PDF)
Illinois put together six well-timed hits, leading to four early runs, while the Orange and Blue defense stranded 10 runners on base, en route to a 4-1 victory over DePaul.
Allie Bauch got on base all three times, tallying two hits, two RBI and a run. Kylie Johnson and Jenna Mychko both went 1-for-3 with a run, and Mychko also added an RBI. Alex Booker and Stephanie Cuevas each had a hit, and Jess Perkins scored a run.
Samantha Dodd went 2-for-4 with DePaul’s lone RBI, and Paige Peterson singled and scored in the sixth.
Pepper Gay threw a complete game in the circle, allowing one run on four hits and five walks, while striking out six. Hannah Penna gave up four runs on six hits and a walk and struck out four in seven full innings.
The Illini opened the scoring in the top of the second with a big two-out rally. After a pair of pop outs, Bauch singled to center. She stole second, and Mychko singled up the middle for the first RBI of the game, advancing to second on the throw to the plate. She made it to third on a passed ball, then Danielle Trezzo walked. In the first-and-third situation, Trezzo stole second, drawing the throw, which ended up in the outfield and allowed Mychko to easily come in to score, making it 2-0 Illini.
Booker hit a leadoff single in the top of the third. Johnson beat out an infield single to put two on with no outs. Penna struck out the next batter, then Perkins hit a grounder to the shortstop. She threw to third, but Booker beat the throw to load the bases. Repole grounded in a fielders choice, catching Booker at home, but Bauch hit a hard-hit ball to the second baseman, who botched the play, leading to two runs scored.
Braden led off the bottom of the third with a single off Repole’s glove at third. She made the turn to head to second, but Booker fired across to Bauch at second base for the out. A walk, a dropped popup and another walk loaded the bases, but Gay struck out pinch hitter Gardner to strand three.
After fouling off seven pitches, Paige Peterson tripled to the wall in right center with two outs in the sixth. Dodd grounded to short and just beat the throw to land safely at first with an RBI for DePaul, but that was all they would get, as Illinois defeated the Blue Demons, 4-1.
Game 2: Texas 12, Illinois 2 | Box Score (PDF)
In what began a pitchers’ duel, the No. 6 Longhorns exploded for 12 runs in the top of the sixth to defeat Illinois, 12-2. Jess Perkins hit the first home run of the season, a two-run blast to straight-away center, to give the Illini a 2-0 lead in the fourth, but Karina Scott tied it with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth, and an additional 10 unearned runs handed Texas the victory, 12-2, in six innings.
Perkins, Johnson and Repole were all 1-for-3, as Perkins had a two-run homer and Johnson scored the Illini’s other run.
Taylor Hoagland and Brejae Washington each had two hits, including a triple for Washington. Ogle had a two-run double and Scott hit a two-run shot in the sixth.
Shelese Arnold started in the circle for the Illini and pitched five scoreless innings before the hit-parade of the sixth. She threw to six batters in the sixth, allowing five runs, four unearned, before being replaced by Pepper Gay. Gay pitched to three batters, all of whom scored unearned runs, before Arnold returned to the circle for five more batters and four unearned runs. Jackie Guy pitched to the final three batters, allowing a walk and no runs. In total, Arnold gave up eight hits, nine runs but only one earned, and six walks with three strikeouts in 5.1 innings, taking the loss. Gay allowed three unearned runs on two hits and a walk in 0+ innings, and Guy threw a hitless 0.2, allowing a walk.
Gabby Smith threw the first four innings for Texas, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, and Luna struck out five of seven batters in 2.0 innings, picking up the win.
Hoagland opened the game with a single to short. She stole second, but Arnold got the next three batters for a scoreless first inning.
The Longhorns threatened again in the top of the third, reaching on a pair of walks, but a strikeout and a groundout kept them off the board.
After three-and-a-half scoreless innings, Johnson hit a bloop single to shallow center with one out. Two batters later, Perkins hit a two-run bomb to straight-away center to make it 2-0 Illini.
Texas wasted a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, as Mychko threw Hoagland out stealing second, to keep Illinois ahead, 2-0.
Kim Bruins reached as the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth, as Perkins dropped the ball at first. Karina Scott drilled the next pitch over the wall in straight-away center to tie the score, 2-2. Thom grounded to short, but an off-target throw allowed her to reach base. Arnold struck out Schmidt, then walked pinch hitter Shireman. Mandy Ogle laced an RBI double to left-center, bringing Gay off the bench to pitch.
Gay’s first pitch was ruled illegal, moving up the runners and allowing Shireman to score. Gabaldon walked, and Hoagland hit an RBI single to short. Washington followed with a two-run triple to left-center to make it 7-2, leading Arnold to return to the circle as pitcher. Bruins smoked the ball to short. Bauch knocked it down but couldn’t make a play, leading to another run. Scott walked, and Thom singled down the left-field line to load the bases. Kern, pinch hitting, hit an RBI single through the right side and Shireman walked in another run, leading to another pitching change, this time to Jackie Guy.
Guy walked Ogle for the 11th run of the inning, before finally getting the second out of the inning, an RBI ground out to second base. Hoagland then flew out to left for the third out, ending the inning with 12 runs in the sixth.
Johnson got on base to start the bottom of the sixth, but Luna struck out the side to pick up the 12-2 victory.
Illinois finishes out the Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational on Sunday against Houston at 11:30 a.m.