Freshman Monica Perry tossed the eighth no-hitter in Illini history in an 8-0 win over Wisconsin.
April 4, 2009
MADISON, Wis. - Illini freshman pitcher Monica Perry tossed her first career no-hitter to lead Illinois (20-10, 5-2 Big Ten) to an 8-0 win over Wisconsin (12-24, 1-5 Big Ten) in game one of a doubleheader, then finished off the Badgers with 3-2 victory in game two at Goodman Diamond. Perry (15-8) becomes the first Illini in program history to no-hit a Big Ten opponent.
"Monica really stepped up and led our team today," head coach Terri Sullivan said. "She was aggressive on the mound and hit her corners well. She also put a lot of trust in her defense, and they played well which allowed her to focus and get the outs we needed.
"It's key that a team finds different ways to win, and we did that today. We drove the ball well in first game, and in the second game we showed we're capable of playing small ball by moving runners and being unselfish at the plate."
Perry's complete-game no-hitter is the first since Sherri Taylor tossed one against Valparaiso on April 29, 2003. It marks the second no-hitter this season, as Ashley Wright and Taylor Call combined for one against Prairie View A&M on Feb. 21, and eighth in program history. The McDonough, Ga., native finished the day with 10 strikeouts, allowing just two runs on six hits through 12 innings of work.
Illinois made quick work of Wisconsin in game one, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning and never looking back. Rightfielder Hope Howell took a pitch in the back and worked her away around the bases, eventually scoring on a base-knock from designated player Katrina Ross. Howell finished the day 3-for-4, reaching base in all seven plate appearances.
The Illini tacked on a pair of runs in the third thanks to a pair of wild pitches and Badger miscue. Second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI in the game, led off the inning with base-hit and moved to second when Howell was hit by another pitch. Zymkowitz crossed the plate on a wild pitch, while Howell ran home on a throwing error.
In the fifth, the Orange and Blue busted the game open, putting up five runs to take an 8-0 lead. Illinois collected six hits in the inning and took advantage of two Wisconsin errors. Zymkowitz, Howell, catcher Lana Armstrong and first baseman Meredith Hackett each drove in a run as the Illini capped off the run-rule win.
Game two was a closer contest, with the Badgers taking the 1-0 lead after the first. Illinois responded in the second inning with the game-tying run thanks to a leadoff double by Armstrong and an RBI-groundout off the bat of third baseman Kelley Wedel.
The Illini took the lead in the third after centerfielder Jamie Adishian walked to lead off the inning. Zymkowitz laid down a sacrifice bunt, then Howell drove Adishian home with a single through the right side.
Wisconsin inched back in the fifth, making it 2-2 thanks to three straight two-out singles. But Illinois once again battled back to take the lead in the next inning. Howell walked to start the inning, then moved to third after a wild pitch and illegal pitch. Armstrong slapped a grounder to the first baseman, but her throw home was not in time as Howell slid under the tag for the game-winning run.
Illinois returns home for a two-game stint this week, hosting in-state foes Illinois State and Bradley. The Illini take on the Redbirds Tuesday at 6 p.m., then welcome the Braves on Thursday at 6 p.m.