Illinois wins in different ways
April 2, 2003
Charleston, Ill. - The midweek games during the Big Ten season are intended in part to keep the team fresh and give them practice in different situations. Illinois got just that in sweeping Eastern Illinois in a doubleheader at Charleston on Wednesday. The Illini scored in five different innings in an easy 8-1 win in the opener. The Illini had to go to extra innings to win the nightcap, 4-1 in nine innngs.
Illinois pounded out eight hits, five of them for extra bases in the opener. Junior Sarah Baumgartner came to bat in the seventh needing a home run to hit for the cycle. Although she didn't provide the long ball, she singled to complete a 4-for-4 game, which included a double, a triple, and a run scored.
Erin Montgomery, who had five extra base hits and eight RBI in six games last week, picked up right where she left off, going 2-for-2 with a home run, a double and two RBI in the opening game vs. Eastern. Janna Sartini (2-for-4) hit a two-run home run in the third to make it 4-0 Illinois after three. Baumgartner and Jenna Hall each doubled in a two-run fourth to make it 6-0. The Illini added a home run from Montgomery in the fifth-- a shot to left against a brisk win - then capped the scoring with an unearned run in the sixth.
The Illini split the pitching duties. Amanda Fortune went the first three innings and recorded her 13th win of the season, giving up just a base hit and a walk, while striking out two. Sherri Taylor pitched the last four innings, giving up just one run. Eastern Illinois committed five errors in that game.
While Illinois had no trouble getting things going offensively in the first game, for six innings the bats were relatively silent in game two. The Illini had just four hits through six innings. However, freshman pitcher Jackelyn Diekemper had one of her best outings, giving up just one run and four hits in 6+ innings. She had a no decision.
The Illini finally broke through against Eastern Illinois' Kristen Becker with an RBI single from freshman Rachelle Coriddi in the top of the seventh. Eastern Illinois came right back with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Jessica Irps drove home the only EIU run, and the Panthers had first and second with nobody out. After the runners were sacrificed to second and third, Fortune, who came in in relief, got the next two batters to strike out and fly out to center, respectively, and did not allow the winning run to score.
The Illini finally broke through with three runs in the ninth, sending nine batters to the plate in the inning. Katie O'Connell and Coriddi each had hits in the inning, but the big blow came from Erin Jones, who provided a bases loaded double, clearing the bases and giving Illinois the 4-1 lead.
After giving up back-to-back singles in the seventh, Fortune retired the final nine batters she faced to pick up the victory. Illinois had two triples in the game, one from Corridi (3 for 5, RBI) and the other from Lindsey Hamma (2 for 4).
"Confidence is half the battle and right now we're real confident each time out," said Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan. "We don't have any selfish players. They're just as happy to see someone else drive in the runs as they are if they come through themselves. It was a great to see us win in two different type of games - scoring a run in a every inning in the first game, then having to come through in pressure situations in the second game."
Illinois has a big weekend coming up, hosting Penn State Friday (6 p. m.) and Saturday (Noon) then Ohio State for a doubleheader on Sunday (Noon) at Eichelberger Field.