Illinois top seed with 5-3 win
March 12, 2005
Clearwater(FL)-Football is not the Illinois softballs team game yet it proved to be just what the Illini needed to pump themselves up and forget about the 0-1 loss yesterday to Central Michigan in pool play. Jenna Hall's two run homerun in the sixth and Shanna Diller's walk off bomb in the bottom of the seventh gave the Illini a 5-3 victory, taking their last game of pool play against Southern Mississippi.
The Illini began their early day with a rousing game of pick up touch football to warm up. While the Illini dropped more passes then they caught the creative change of pace proved to be rewarding.
The Illini jumped out to an early lead capitalizing on a Lady Eagle error in the first inning. Leadoff batter Rachelle Coriddi got on and advanced to second when So. Mississippi pitcher Krystal Crooks threw the ball away. A LeeAnn Butcher sacrifice bunt placed Coriddi on third and a heads up situational groundball to the right side by Shanna Diller scored Coriddi.
With bases loaded the Lady Hawks answered back with a run of their own in the top of the fifth. With bases loaded Jennifer Fox singled to right field to score Danielle Martin on third. The Illini got out of the pressure situation when centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi made a diving catch to end the inning.
The Hawks took back the lead in the sixth capitalizing on two Illini errors to take the lead 3-1.
With one swing of the bat the Illini answered back. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth clean up hitter Jenna Hall went opposite way taking the ball deep to leftfield. The ball bounced off the leftfielders glove and over the fence scoring Diller on first.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh freshman stud Shanna Diller ended the game on a walk off homerun to dead centerfield scoring Butcher and continued her torrid hitting streak to 11 games.
Mary Miller has pitched all four games so far this tournament improving to 6-3-0 overall and 3-1 in the tournament. Miller was outstanding in the circle getting the Illini out of bases loaded pressure situations in each of the top fifth and seventh innings.
With the win the Illini are 3-1 in pool play and received a bye for the rest of the day. Next game will be tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT against Purdue.