Monica Perry struck out six batters and improved to 12-4 on the season after earning the win over Indiana State.
March 31, 2010
URBANA, Ill. - Illinois pitchers Monica Perry and Pepper Gay combined for a one-hitter, leading the #18 Illini to a 5-1 win over Indiana State at Eichelberger Field on Wednesday. Second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz was the only Illini with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Perry got the win to improve to 12-4 on the season, while Gay shut the door on the Sycamores in giving up no hits in two innings of work. Illinois improves to 24-4 on the year and 2-0 at home, while Indiana State falls to 11-15.
"Our pitchers had the goal of getting a no-hitter or a shut-out, and they came close to that," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "Both Monica and Pepper are very tough to hit when they are really focused on executing each pitch. They practiced really well yesterday and were hungry to get back out there after the Michigan game last week. I still believe they're going to get better throughout the year, and we're going to need them to with our conference schedule.
"Offensively, I thought we were a little bit flat. We left some runners on and swung at some bad pitches. I would have liked to see us a little bit more aggressive, but we did what we needed to do to win the game."
The Illini offense scored four runs off of Sycamores starter Kristen Felker in the second inning, tallying four hits and taking advantage of a fielding error to light up the scoreboard. Catcher Audrey Gallien led off with an infield single, and was replaced on the base paths by pinch runner Nicole Linares who subsequently stole second. Designated player Jessica Davis followed with a single to center field, which scored Linares and advanced Davis a base after an ISU throwing error. Davis was injured in sliding into second, however, and replaced by Gabe Gavoni in the Illini lineup. Centerfielder Ashley Conrad and leftfielder Katie Lutes drew back-to-back walks to load the bases, and shortstop Danielle Vaji came through with a bloop single to left field that scored two runs and gave Illinois a 3-0 lead. The fourth run of the inning was scored by Lutes on a fly-out to center by Zymkowitz.
Indiana State got its lone run and lone hit in the top of the third. The first two batters reached base after being hit by a pitch and an Illini error. Outfielder Alyssa Doyle hit an RBI single to left field to cut the Illini lead to 4-1 before Perry drew a fly-out and foul out to get out of the inning.
The Orange and Blue tacked on another run in the fourth, as Zymkowitz got things started with an infield single and stolen base. The second baseman came around to score on two ground-outs, with first baseman Meredith Hackett picking up the RBI to give Illinois the 5-1 lead.
Perry mowed through the Sycamores' lineup, striking out six batters in five innings of work. The sophomore allowed just one baserunner other than in the third inning when Indiana State scored its run. Gay came on in relief in the sixth, allowing no hits and no baserunners in two innings of work.
The Illini played without senior outfielder and team captain Hope Howell, who was out with the flu. Lutes got the start in Howell's absence, drawing a walk, stealing a base and scoring a run in the game.
"I give Katie credit for stepping up and playing well," Sullivan said. "She earned that start from her performance in practice yesterday."
Up Next: Illinois continues Big Ten play this weekend, traveling to face in-state rival Northwestern (16-11) on Saturday and Sunday. Both games will start at 1 p.m.