Hall delivers in thrilling 5-3 victory over No. 20 Northwestern
March 26, 2005
Palo Alto, Calif. - One week before Northwestern and Illinois do battle to open the Big Ten season, the conference rivals did battle in a thrilling final game of the Stanford Classic Tournament. Jenna Hall took a 2-2 offering from Northwestern ace Courtnay Foster and sent it down the right field line for a two-out, three run single in the seventh inning to give Illinois a 5-3 comeback victory over No. 20 Northwestern Illinois improves to 15-11 overall and Northwestern falls to 18-9. The Illini open the conference season Friday in Evanston.
"We have proven that it doesn't matter if we're down by one or down by ten, we can come back," Hall said. "I knew that with the base loaded they didn't want to walk me, so I could be aggressive at the plate. This is a huge win for us going into our series with them next weekend. I'm sure that those games will be just as competitive."
Northwestern had taken a 3-2 lead on Stephanie Churchwell's two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. Northwestern had threatened in every inning, leaving nine runners on base in the first four frames. Northwestern out-hit the Illini, 11-7. Jenna Hall paced Illinois offensively by going 3-for-4 with those three RBI. Northwestern got the lead-off batter on in the top of the seventh, but the Illini turned a 6-4-3 double play and Miller struck out the final batter to preserve the victory and improve to 10-5 on the season.
Illinois took the early lead with a pair of runs in the second inning. Jenna Hall led off the inning with a single off the left-field wall. One out later, Jackelyn Diekemper reached on an error, one of three miscues for the Wildcats on the day. Designated player Elene Planinsek delivered a line double down the left field line, scoring pinch runner Laura Zobrist from third and Diekemper from first.
The Wildcats got one of the runs back in the bottom of the second when Katie Logan singled off the third base bag, scoring Sheila McCorkle.
The Illini threatened again in the third, but left the bases loaded. Seven different Wildcats reached base. In the fourth inning, Miller got out of a second and third and two out jam by inducing a ground out to Shanna Diller at shortstop. Miller and the Illini did one better in the fifth, not allowing a run after Northwestern had runners at second and third and no outs. Miller got two Wildcat runners to ground out while striking out another.