Illini Drop Judi Garman Classic Opener, 3-2
March 18, 2011
FULLERTON, Calif. - The Illinois softball team fell, 3-2, to Fresno State in the Judi Garman Classic opener on the Cal State Fullerton campus. Danielle Zymkowitz, Meredith Hackett and Jackie Guy each tallied one hit on the contest for the Illini.
"Our offense needs to catch fire early, and we are confident it will," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "We had one inning where we let them do too much after recording two outs and we need to close the door after getting two outs. This is a great tournament and we are ready to play with a sense of urgency tonight."
After being shut down over the first three innings, Fresno State broke through for three runs against Illinois' starting pitcher, Pepper Gay, in the fourth frame. Rebecca Hall, Haley Gilleland and Brooke Ortiz hit consecutive RBI singles to plate all three runs with two outs.
Illinois responded in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs to cut the Bulldogs' lead to one. Hackett continued to produce at the plate, driving in the first Illini runner of the day on an RBI single to left field. Hackett advanced to second on the throw back into the infield following her single and was replaced by a pinch runner, Nikki Simpson, who sprinted home when Kelley Wedel reached on a fielding error during the next at bat.
The Orange and Blue threatened in the seventh inning as well, with Audrey Gallien reaching on a one-out walk and Zymkowitz singling with two out to put runners on first and second. Hollie Pinchback followed with a fly out to left field to end the game.
Gay pitched a complete game for Illinois, hurling six innings while only allowing three runs on six hits. Gay also struck out three Bulldogs while issuing three walks.
Up Next: The Illini (9-10) continue Judi Garman Classic play with the second game of Friday's doubleheader, facing the host-Cal State Fullerton Titans at approximately 7:30 p.m. CT.