Lauren Gronski led Illinois to a 3-0 lead against Boston University with her first home run of the season.
Feb. 22, 2004
College Station, Texas - Lauren Gronski blasted a two-run home run in the sixth inning and Amanda Fortune tossed a one-hitter as Illinois finished off its Aggie Invitational championship with a 3-0 win against Boston University.
Illinois moved its unbeaten streak to ten games with the victory and it completed Illinois' second tournament title of the year. Last weekend's Sunshine State Tournament was washed out and no champion was named, although Illinois won the tournament's only game over Southern Miss.
The Illini seem primed to move into the Top 25 for the first time this season. On the resume are three victories over ranked teams, including two wins over Texas A&M this weekend. The Illini had a 0.60 ERA and a team-fielding percentage of .993 for the weekend.
On Sunday the Illini broke through in the sixth inning. Erin Montgomery singled to left field to lead off the inning then moved to second base on a wild pitch. Elene Planinsek attempted a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher, but Boston hurler Brittany Detwiler bounced the throw past the second baseman who was covering first. The miscue allowed Montgomery to score, and Planinsek advanced to second. Gronski pinch hit for Erin Jones, and smacked the 0-1 pitch over the left-center field fence to give Illinois a 3-0 lead after six innings.
The lead stood as Fortune mowed down the Terriers in order in the top of the seventh to give Illinois its fifth win of the tournament and improve its season record to 9-2-1.
Fortune was nearly automatic, with the exception of the second inning. She pitched out of trouble after loading the bases on two walks and an infield hit. Fortune, however, notched her second strikeout of the frame to retire the side and end the Terrier threat.
Lindsey Hamma added a hit for the Illini, finishing the tournament 7-for-15 with five runs and three stolen bases. Jenna Hall was 7-for-15 on the weekend with two home runs, four runs and four walks.
Rachelle Coriddi finished her birthday celebration with a 1-for-3 performance against Boston University, totaling 7-for-18 with three RBI and three stolen bases.
Fortune was dominant in the Aggie Invitational, tossing 18.2 shutout innings and allowing only 11 hits. Fortune notched two complete-game shutouts, and picked up three wins in the tournament. She allowed opponents only a .177 batting average, and Fortune, Sherri Taylor and Megan Huitink permitted a paltry .185 opponents' batting average over five games.
The only three runs the Illini gave up were in its second game against Texas A&M, a 4-3 win. Illinois shut out its opponents in the other four games of the tournament.