Illini knock off #23 Arizona State at KIA Classic
March 19, 2004
"We treated the start of bracket play as a new beginning with renewed enthusiasm and energy," said Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan after Illinois' 4-2 win over #23 Arizona State at the KIA Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Friday evening.
Illinois went 0-3 in its four-team pool, dropping three contests to top-fifteen opponents -- #1 Arizona (4-1), #7 Oklahoma (5-2) and #15 Fresno State (3-0). The Fresno State game completed 40 minutes before the start of bracket play of the 15-team tournament. The Illini were matched against ASU, the winner of its pool. Illinois (15-8-1) advances to play either Texas A&M or DePaul in the quarterfinals of the tourney at 3 p.m. CST.
"Our goal each game is to score early and win every inning," Sullivan said. "We accomplished that tonight."
Jenna Hall (2-for-3) drove in all four of Illinois' runs on a pair of two-run doubles. Rachelle Coriddi scored two of those runs and went 3-for-4 on the night.
The Illini's two-run rally in the third started after two were out. Lindsey Hamma reached on an infield single, then Rachelle Coriddi hit a base hit to left and never stopped, sliding in safely at second with a double. Hall couldn't have hit an approach shot better than her double that landed just inside the left field line and out of the reach of three Sun Devil fielders.
"Jenna and Rachelle came to play tonight and our defense attacked the ball," Sullivan said.
Jackelyn Diekemper (1-0) made her first start of the season and recorded the victory. Diekemper went 4 2/3 innings after closing the game against Fresno State, just her second appearance of the year. She retired 10 of 11 batters and allowed just three base runners in her first four innings.
"Jackelyn gave us new momentum and great enthusiasm," Sullivan said of her decision to start Diekemper. "She finished the Fresno State game strong and wanted the ball."
Illinois scored two more in the fifth by executing to perfection. Janna Sartini was hit by a pitch. Lindsey Hamma provided a sacrifice bunt that sent pinch runner Molly Lawhead to second. Coriddi doubled to left field as Lawhead advanced 60 feet to third. Hall then sent a well-hit ball fair into the left-field corner, plating both runners and driving Arizona State starter Bre DeSanta (9-5) from the game.
Arizona State (29-14) mounted a pair of rallies. Valerie Sevilla doubled in Trisha Tornberg and Kristin Farber singled home Kristen Crenshaw to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Illinois' Sherri Taylor then entered in relief, striking out the final batter. Taylor allowed three hits in 2.1 innings in posting her second save of the year. She struck out the side in the sixth including the final batter with the tying runs on base and the lead run at the plate.
In the Fresno State game, the Bulldogs out-hit Illinois, 10-2. Fresno State's Jamie Southern walked three and struck out eight in posting the complete-game victory. Amanda Fortune gave up two earned runs in her 2 1/3 innings of work. Coriddi and Erin Jones had the only two hits for Illinois.
Fresno State scored two runs in the third on a one-out two single by Porsha Finley. Catcher Nichole Willis singled home Kristy Villasenor in the fifth. The Bulldogs had 10 singles. There were no extra base hits in the game.