Illini freshman pitcher Monica Perry tossed a two-hitter, fanning nine against the Bradley Braves in a 4-0 win.
April 9, 2009
URBANA, Ill. - The Illinois softball team earned its second victory of the week against another I-74 rival, the Bradley Braves, in a 4-0 shutout on a clear Thursday evening at Eichelberger Field. With the win, Illinois earns its fourth consecutive victory and improves to 22-10, while Bradley falls to 15-17 on the season.
Illinois freshman pitcher Monica Perry (17-8) went the distance, allowing just two hits while fanning nine total batters in the process, one shy of her career high. For Bradley, Katie Dennis (3-7) took the loss giving up only one run in 2 1/3 innings.
"What I really respect about Monica is the pride she has in every game that she throws," head coach Terri Sullivan said. "We weren't offensively very aggressive, but it didn't affect her at all. She just went out there and really led our team."
Rightfielder Hope Howell led the offensive attack for Illinois going 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI. Second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz also went 1-for-2 with two runs, reaching base in every plate appearance, while leftfielder Hollie Pinchback had two RBIs on the night.
The bats were quiet on both sides until the second inning when Bradley threatened, placing two runners on base, but would strand those runners, setting up an Illinois counter threat in the bottom half of the inning. The Illini also put two runners on, but saw the same result, keeping both teams scoreless.
The Orange and Blue got on the board in the third as Zymkowitz led off with a walk and stole second, making her a perfect 17-for-17 on the season. Howell drove a deep ball into left field, doubling and sending Zymkowitz home to give Illinois a 1-0 lead going into the fourth.
"Hope really uses the whole field well," Sullivan said. "She just has an attitude about her when she steps in the box that she can get on base every time. She's a real key in our offensive lineup."
Zymkowitz and Howell would get the offense going again in the fifth, hitting back-to-back singles to left field, eventually setting up a deep shot to left by Pinchback, driving in both runners and extending the Illini advantage to 3-0.
Illinois would score one more time in the sixth after third baseman Kelley Wedel doubled deep to left and pinch-hitter Bailey Behrens hit a single to advance Wedel to third. After shortstop Ashley Conrad re-entered and stole second base, centerfielder Jamie Adishian hit a sacrifice fly to foul territory in left, bringing in Wedel to cap off the 4-0 win.
Next up for the Illini is a two-game road series against Big Ten foe Ohio State. The two will open the series on Saturday with the first pitch at 1 p.m. (CT). Sunday will conclude the series also with a 1 p.m. (CT) start.