Illini Fall to Texas Tech in Extras, 4-3
Feb. 22, 2014
Arlington, Texas – In a neck-and-neck pitchers duel that would need extra innings to determine a winner, it was Texas Tech who would finally come out on top, as the Red Raiders defeated Illinois, 4-3, in nine innings. Allie Bauch led the Illini at the plate, reaching base three times with two hits and an RBI, while Brandi Needham fired seven quality innings, allowing two runs on five hits in the no decision. With the win, Texas Tech improves to 10-4, while Illinois drops its third straight, falling to 8-3.
Bauch, who turned one of two Illini double plays at second base, went 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and an RBI at the leadoff spot, and Alex Booker tabbed a single, stole second, and drove in the tying run in the bottom of the fifth. Katie Repole and Jess Perkins both singled and scored in the game, while Nicole Evans tallied the remaining Illini hit, and Brittany Sanchez scored to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
The Red Raiders scattered five hits among five different batters, including an RBI double by Aucoin. Four different Texas Tech players crossed the plate, and Samantha Camello and Cassie McClure, who also singled, each drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Freshman Brandi Needham allowed two runs on just five hits and two walks over seven full innings, striking out four, while junior Shelese Arnold did not allow a hit or a walk in the final two innings, striking out two, but allowed both inherited runners (international tie-break rules) to score, taking the loss.
Senior lefty Brittany Talley also allowed two runs on five hits, striking out three batters over the first five innings, while Gretchen Aucoin earned the win for the Red Raiders, allowing just one hit and no earned runs over the final four innings, with eight strikeouts. She allowed the tie-break runner to score in the bottom of the eighth, but stranded Repole on second in the bottom of the ninth to seal up the victory.
After two-and-a-half perfect innings, Repole represented the first base runner of the game with a leadoff single to short in the bottom of the third. Bauch ripped a two-out single to right, and after she stole second, Remeny Perez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, the Illini were unable to secure another two-out hit, as Talley got herself out of the jam by getting Booker to ground out to first for the final out.
Sydni Emanuel led off the top of the fourth with the Red Raiders’ first hit, a blooper that dropped just inside the foul line in shallow right, but Needham got the next three batters to ground out to strand TTU’s leadoff hitter on third.
Lea Hopson led off the top of the fifth with a hit to the gap in right center. She took more than a turn to second, but Evans made a great play to get the ball back in and limit her to a single. It wouldn’t end up making a difference, however, as Aucoin drilled the first pitch she saw off the wall in left-center for an RBI double, and advanced to third on the throw home. Camello then made it 2-0 Texas Tech with a sacrifice fly to left.
Repole was aboard as the leadoff batter once again in the bottom of the fifth, getting hit by a pitch. Evans singled down the line in shallow left, and Perkins loaded the bases on a rocket to third base. Bauch then ripped the first pitch to right for an RBI single to cut the Red Raiders’ lead in half. Perez hit a nubber right back to the pitcher, who threw home to get Evans at the plate, but Booker battled through a long at-bat to hit a grounder to deep second and drive in Perkins, tying the score at two. Sanchez then followed with a hard-hit liner to the right side, but second baseman Hopson snagged it out of the air to end the inning and keep Illinois from taking the lead.
The Red Raiders had a pair of one-out base runners in the top of the sixth on an infield single and a perfectly executed hit and run, but Repole turned an inning-ending double play to keep the Red Raiders from taking back the lead.
Aucoin replaced Talley in the circle in the bottom of the sixth, and allowed a leadoff walk to Mychko. Pinch runner Kylie Johnson made it to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball, but that’s where she would stay, as Aucoin got a struck out a pair to keep Illinois off the board.
Texas Tech threatened in the top of the seventh as the first two batters walked, but Bauch turned a key unassisted double play on a line drive up the middle, and a pop out ended the frame with the score still tied at two.
Shelese Arnold took over in the circle to begin the eighth inning, and in accordance with international tie-break rules, Brittany Lee began the top of the eighth on second base. Sydnie Tapia laid down the sacrifice bunt to move her to third, and a 1-2 pitch in the dirt got away from Mychko and allowed Lee to come in to score, before Arnold struck out the final two batters, as Texas Tech took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Sanchez started on second for the Illini and advanced to third on a passed ball. Rivera then grounded to short, and the shortstop skied the throw home, allowing Sanchez to tie the game at three.
A passed ball allowed pinch runner Weber to get to third in the top of the ninth, and McClure drove her home on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 Red Raiders.
Aucoin retired the Illini in order in the bottom of the ninth to finish out the game, with a final score of 4-3 in favor of Texas Tech.
Next Up: The Illini are back in action at 2 p.m. when they take on UMKC in their second of four games at the UTA Hilton Invitational.