Left fielder Jessica Davis drove in a career-best six RBIs in her first collegiate multi-home run game.
March 4, 2011
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Illini softball team used a hitting surge in the third, fourth and fifth innings and a strong pitching performance from Jackie Guy to drop Temple, 12-0, in six innings. Five Illinois batters recorded two hits as left fielder Jessica Davis led the way with two home runs, including a grand slam, and a career-high six RBIs. Guy silenced the Owls' lineup consistently, earning a career-best 10 strikeouts while only allowing one hit and one walk.
"We started slow, but I thought Kelley [Wedel] got us going with some quality at bats and there were a lot of different contributors as everyone at the top of the lineup had a couple hits," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "Jackie pitched a great game, threw strikes and got ahead in the count. When you are ahead in the count like she was, you can take care of business."
After playing scoreless softball through three innings, the Illini broke the tie with two runs in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. Davis produced her first homer of the afternoon, driving the ball over the left-center field fencing after Kelley Wedel singled up the middle.
"That is what Jess can do," Sullivan said. "When she sets her mind to it, she is a really threatening hitter. It is always fun to see one go out of the park and it gets our offense fired up. Other batters had to get on base for her to add more to the scoreboard so I really think the entire team contributed well today."
Hollie Pinchback followed with a home run of her own to put Illinois up 5-0 in the fifth. Alex Booker and Danielle Zymkowitz led off the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for Pinchback, who drilled her second home run of the season to right-center field. Two batters later, Nikki Simpson scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Wedel to add another run to the Illini lead.
The Orange and Blue capped scoring in the sixth inning by plating six runs. After Temple set down the first two Illini for two quick outs, eight straight batters reached base for Illinois. Zymkowitz reached on a fielding error and stole second base. Pinchback notched an RBI-single to center field, with Zymkowitz racing home from second, before Meredith Hackett doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third. Wedel walked to load the bases and Davis followed with her second homer of the afternoon to push the lead to 11-0. Illinois scored its final run when pinch-hitter Jenna Mychko tallied her first collegiate hit, a single to right field, with Danielle Vaji scoring from second base.
Guy was dominant in the circle throughout the contest. The Buena Park, Calif., native struck out the side in the second and fifth innings, and fanned two batters in the first and fourth frames. Relief pitcher Laura Tarnawa entered the game in the sixth to close out the win, striking out two while giving up two hits.
Illinois continues the day with the second half of its opening day doubleheader with a contest against the Maryland Terrapins (6-5). First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT.