Leftfielder Hollie Pinchback belted her second home run of the season against No. 24 DePaul.
March 26, 2009
URBANA, Ill. - Leftfielder Hollie Pinchback smashed her second home run of the season, but the Illini came up short against the No. 24 DePaul Blue Demons, 6-2, on Thursday evening at Eichelberger Field. Illinois dropped to 17-8, while DePaul improved to 14-7 on the season.
"We had opportunities, but we just didn't see the ball very well tonight," head coach Terri Sullivan said. "DePaul scored early and they have good hitters that got the job done. We fought harder as we got deeper into the game, but obviously it wasn't enough today."
The Blue Demons took an early 4-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a pair of home runs. They held onto that lead until the Illini inched back in the third after third baseman Kelley Wedel led off the inning with a walk. Shortstop Ashley Conrad knocked a base-hit then second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz reached on an error to load the bases for rightfielder Hope Howell. Howell delivered a single up the middle to drive in the Illini's first run and keep the bases loaded, but DePaul pitcher Becca Heteniak (7-4) worked out of the jam with a strikeout and grounder to third.
The Demons tacked on two more unearned runs in the fourth to go up 6-1 before Pinchback's solo shot in the sixth. Although the Illini began to rally in the bottom of the seventh with two runners on, DePaul ended the threat with a pop out to pick up the 6-2 victory.
Illini pitcher Monica Perry (12-6) gave up four earned runs on five hits through four innings before Christine Christopoulos came on in relief. Christopoulos tossed the final three innings, allowing just three hits while the defense behind her turned three double plays.
The Orange and Blue's home stand continues this weekend with a pair of games against Michigan State. Illinois will host the Spartans on Saturday at noon, changed from the originally scheduled 5 p.m. start because of potential weather conditions. Sunday's matchup remains at 2 p.m. and will air live on the Big Ten Network.