Illinois begins Cox Communications Tournament
Feb. 21, 2003
Gainesville, Fla. - In a game that lasted over two hours and had humidity levels reaching 95 percent, the Illini found a way to win. The Yellow Jackets ranked No. 24 in the nation, couldn't put the Illini away in the eighth inning as Katie O'Connell walked in the winning run with the bases loaded to win the opening game of the tournament 3-2.
Amanda Fortune (3-0), found herself getting out of a lot of sticking situations throughout the game. Fortune got out of a bases loaded no out situation in the first only to mow down the next three including striking out two. Steady and demanding most of the day, Fortune would again find trouble in the eighth when runners reached early in the inning. Fortune remained focused after a base hit to center scored the Yellow Jackets second run of the game and took a 2-1 lead.
Trailing heading into the bottom of the eighth and the offense stagnant most of the game, the Illini needed base runners and that's what they got. After Lindsay Hamma led the inning off with a walk, Hall pounded a single down the line in right to put the Illini in position. Erin Jones who went 2-3, followed Hall with a single of her own, scoring Hamma to tie the game at 2-2. Despite leaving ten runners on base, the Illini found a way to get the runs at the right time.
This puts the Illini at a sparkling 6-0 on the season. They put their perfect record on the line again later today as they face tournament host, Florida at 4 p.m. (Est.). Florida should be another strong opponent for the Illini as they are 12-4 on the season and have received votes in recent polls.