Illinois beats Oakland and advances to championship game
Feb. 22, 2003
Gainesville, Fla. - Illinois beat the approaching storm to complete their beating of the Oakland Grizzlies. The Illini displayed the offense they had lost in the second game yesterday in drilling nine hits and one home run on their way to the 9-1 rout.
"This was a very good team win," Sullivan said. "The game was a lot closer than it appeared in the end."
Neither team scored until the fourth inning and that's when the Illini started to go crazy. In the fourth the Illini got on base with the luxury of having no hits. But, with two outs in the inning, Rachelle Coriddi came up with a single that scored two runs and Sarah Baumgartner followed up with a double, which scored Lindsay Hamma and Coriddi.
Sherri Taylor came out with another strong performance as she went five innings and only allowed one run on six hits. Taylor's performance was possible because of the stellar defense that was on display in the infield. No errors were committed again as the Illini lead all teams in the tournament with a fielding percentage of .968. "Sherri gave a great performance today along with Janna behind the plate in calling a good game," Sullivan said. "I think our offense fed off of our defense, especially our infield defense."
Heading into the seventh inning the Illini didn't feel they had put enough on the board. With the game well in hand at 6-1, Janna Sartini blasted a three-run homer over the center field wall that sealed Oakland's fate for this game.
Illinois improves to 7-1 on the season and takes a 2-1 tournament record into their championship matchup with Florida. The Illini advance to the championship earlier than expected due to heavy rains cancelling all afternoon games. Since the Illini and Florida own the best records in the tournament they get the opportunity to play for the championship. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m. (Est.).