Illini sweep day two of Speedline Invitational
March 5, 2004
Clearwater, Fla. - Rachelle Coriddi knocked five base hits, scored twice and stole four bases in a 5-for-8 performance as Illinois downed Villanova 6-0 and Hofstra 2-1 on the second day of pool play at the Speedline Invitational.
The Illini improve to 2-1 in Pool C action, with games Saturday against Tennessee Tech (10 a.m. CST) and UNLV (12 p.m. CST). Illinois is tied for first in the pool with Western Michigan, UNLV and Tennessee Tech, who are also 2-1.
Amanda Fortune continued a stellar tournament, tossing a two-hit shutout against Villanova and shutting the door on Hofstra by pitching the final two innings and not allowing a base runner.
Erin Jones also came through for the Illini, going 3-for-6 with two RBI and a run in the Illini's two wins.
The Pride jumped on top first, scoring once in the bottom of the first against Illinois. The Illini broke through in the sixth after leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
Erin Montgomery ripped her second extra-base hit of the tournament, this time a double to left field with two outs. Pinch hitter Lauren Gronski knocked Montgomery in with a base hit down the left-field line, tying the game 1-1.
That outburst chased Hofstra pitcher Alexis Alcantara, and the Illini did not wait long to welcome reliever Amy Balonick. After Balonick hit Erin Jones to lead off the top of the seventh inning, Katie O'Connell laid down a sacrifice bunt. One out later, Jones scored from second on Lindsey Hamma's single to center field to lift Illinois into a 2-1 lead.
Fortune didn't need any more runs, setting the Pride down in order in the seventh inning to earn her second win of the day, and improve her season record to 8-1.
Earlier in the day, Fortune gave up only two hits and two walks while holding Villanova scoreless and striking out four Wildcats as Illinois won 6-0.
Coriddi shone at the plate for the Illini, finishing 4-for-4 with two runs and three stolen bases, a single-game Illini record. Erin Jones added two hits and two RBI, including a two-out RBI double that scored Molly Lawhead in the fourth inning. Lawhead had doubled two batters earlier - the first extra-base hit of her career - and her run gave Illinois a 1-0 lead.
The Illini scored again in the fifth, when Janna Sartini singled to left field. Following Hamma's sacrifice that advanced pinch runner Elene Planinsek to second, Planinsek moved to third on Coriddi's single.
Coriddi stole second then Jenna Hall's base hit scored Planinsek and moved Coriddi to third. Sarah Baumgartner pinch ran for Hall, and stole second. The throw challenging Baumgartner's steal got away from the shortstop and Coriddi scored, giving Illinois a 3-0 advantage.
The Illini's next run came in the sixth when LeeAnn Butcher drew a one-out walk. She stole second and scored on Jones' single down the right field line, increasing Illinois' lead to 4-0.
The Orange and Blue added two more runs in the seventh after Coriddi led off the inning with her fourth base hit of the game. She then stole second and scored one out later when Montgomery singled to left field.
Montgomery advanced to second on the throw to the plate, and moved to third on Lawhead's groundout. Butcher walked once more then stole second. Montgomery then scored on a wild pitch by Villanova pitcher Tiffany Ross, giving Illinois its final 6-0 margin.
But Fortune's controlling performance was not lost amid the Illini's offensive outburst. She increased her scoreless streak to 36 innings, stretching back to the Illini's 7-2 victory over LSU on Feb. 8. During that stretch Fortune has struck out 27 while walking only eight batters.
Fortune has allowed only three extra-base hits and hasn't given up a home run. The Illini have outscored opponents 31-7 in Fortune's scoreless streak.