Georgia Tech Squeaks Past Illinois, 1-0, in Palm Springs Finale

Jade Smith reached base all three times, going 2-for-3 on the morning.
Jade Smith reached base all three times, going 2-for-3 on the morning.

Feb. 24, 2013

Box Score

Palm Springs, Calif. – The University of Illinois defense held the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to just two hits, but that was all they would need, as GT edged the Illini, 1-0, in both teams’ final game at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Illini out-hit Tech, 7-2, and had the leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings, but it wasn’t in the cards for Illinois, who finished 0-4 on the weekend.  Georgia Tech improved to 9-7, while the Illini fell to 5-9.

"We ended the tournament very strong in the circle with a terrific performance from Pepper (Gay) today,” said Head Coach Terri Sullivan. “Georgia Tech scores, she limited them to only one run, and they had very few other opportunities.

“We, however, had multiple opportunities to push a few across and didn't capitalize on those chances. Hats off to Georgia Tech for making all the plays when they had to, down to the last catch their left fielder made on Allie (Bauch)’s ball. We will work hard this week on offensive execution."

Allie Bauch led the Illini offense, going 2-for-4, including a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. Jade Smith went 2-for-3, reaching base all three times, and Jess Perkins, Remeny Perez and Jami Schkade each singled. Alex Booker stole second and third as a pinch runner in the second.

Both pitchers had brilliant outings on the mound, as Pepper Gay allowed just two hits, two walks and one run while striking out five in the complete game. She retired all seven leadoff batters and threw five perfect innings. Hope Rush threw seven scoreless innings without a walk, allowing seven hits and striking out five, successfully stranding seven runners, including five leadoff batters.

Ashley Thomas had an RBI single for Tech, Maddie Lionberger was 1-for-2, and Kelly Delashmit scored the lone run of the game as a pinch runner.

Gay retired the first 10 batters she faced, but Alysha Rudnik got aboard with one out in the fourth on a throwing error. She stole second and advanced to third on a ground out by Rush. Gay walked Johnsky, but got Fullem to pop up for the third out, leaving the score at 0-0.

Ziese walked with one out in the top of the fifth. Lionberger singled through the right side, and Downs laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to put runners on second and third with two outs. Thomas then singled to right, scoring Delashmit, the pinch runner, but Sanchez threw a perfect strike to Cuevas at the plate to catch Lionberger for the third out.

Katie Repole led off the bottom of the fifth getting on by error. Pinch hitter Jessica Davis drilled a ball to right center, but the right fielder made a diving catch for the first out. Jami Schkade beat out an infield single, and Smith followed with a single up the middle. Pinch runner Dana Sullivan rounded third but the ball’s backspin kept in from leaving the infield, as the shortstop threw her out at the plate. Bauch followed with a two-out single that dropped in behind third, but Schkade had to hold up at third. Jenna Mychko then came in to pinch hit with the bases loaded, and after falling into an early hole, 0-2, she grounded out to the first baseman for the final out.

Perkins opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to third base. She advanced to second on a ground out and Perez singled to right. The right fielder threw the ball home to keep Perkins on third, and Perez began running to second on the throw. The catcher threw down to the shortstop, and Perez tried to draw a run-down to get Perkins to score but couldn’t get the Yellow Jackets to bite, as the shortstop tagged her out.

Gay threw a perfect top of the seventh, but the Illini still trailed 1-0 in the final inning. Rush got the first two batters out, but Smith reached first after the first baseman came off the base when trying to make the play. Bauch ripped a ball just fair in shallow left field, but Morgan Taylor made a spectacular diving catch to secure the Yellow Jackets’ victory.

The Illini return to action on Friday, March 1, when they travel to Tampa, Fla., for the USF Under Armour Invitational.  Illinois begins the tournament against Kentucky at 10:30 a.m. CT, then takes on host USF at 3:15 p.m. CT, both of whom are ranked this week, at the Bulls’ home field.