Freshman third baseman Jess Perkins doubled in Illinois' run against Nebraska on Saturday.
April 7, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - Illini softball dropped the three-game series finale at Nebraska on Saturday, falling 4-1 to the Cornhuskers at Bowlin Stadium. Senior first baseman Meredith Hackett and freshman third baseman Jess Perkins each totaled a double during the fourth frame.
"We talked as a team about keeping the game simple and playing in the present," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "Because we have lost two series now, sometimes coaches and players make the game more complicated than it is and play in the past or future. We really kept those two things in mind today and played better softball. We took the momentum early, Nebraska responded right back, and we had one poor defensive inning. This team, however, is not comfortable with losing, and we will be back this week."
Illinois struck for a one-run lead in the fourth inning on a pair of first-pitch doubles. With one out in the frame, Hackett sent a pitch from Nebraska ace Ashley Hagemann to right-center field for the senior's seventh two-base hit of the season. Two batters later, Perkins connected for a double to right-center as well, plating Hackett for the 1-0 advantage.
Nebraska answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-1 lead into the fifth. With two aboard and one out, Tatum Edwards knocked a two-RBI doubled to center field before Mattie Fowler added a sacrifice fly out to left field two batter later. The Cornhuskers added to their lead with one run in the fifth, with Brooke Thomason tallying an RBI-single to push Nebraska ahead, 4-1, and reach the final score.
Junior Pepper Gay took the loss for the Illini, giving up four runs - three earned - on three hits and five walks while striking out four. Hagemann tallied the win with seven innings of work, finishing with one run allowed on two hits and a pair of walks to go with four strikeouts.
Illinois (16-18, 2-7) continues its season in Charleston, Ill., with a game at Eastern Illinois University (19-15) on Thursday, April 12.