Second game provides building blocks
April 10, 2005
Urbana, Ill. - Aside from the results, Illinois can take some positives from its second game of the doubleheader with Purdue. The Boilermakers pulled out an 8-7 game with a successful squeeze play in the bottom of the ninth to complete a two-game sweep of Illinois in front of 689 fans at Eichelberger Field. The attendance was the fourth best in school history. Purdue (28-13, 5-1 in the Big Ten) took the first game 9-1 in five innings.
The Illini bats came alive with 15 hits, tied for a season high, committed no errors, and got a gutsy pitching performance from freshman Claire DeVreese in relief. The only thing that didn't come out of it was a much-needed victory. The loss dropped Illinois to 17-19 overall and 0-8 in the conference.
The second game was as entertaining as any this season for Illinois and had many contributors. Laura Zobrist, who has primarily been a running and defensive specialist, did damage with her bat, going 3-for-4 with a game-tying RBI.
"Laura is another one our players that has made the most of her practice time," said Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan. "She works hard on her hitting all the time and focuses on the present."
The game had three ties and three lead changes and as much drama as any regular season game. After Purdue took a 1-0 lead, the Illini responded with four runs in the fourth inning. Julie Balicki (2-for-5, run, RBI) tripled to center scoring pinch runner Elene Planinsek from first and scored on Zobrist's single to center. Molly Lawhead doubled to left center, plating the speedy Zobrist from first. Pinch hitter Leigh Farina made it 4-1 Illinois with single scoring Lawhead.
Purdue came right back with five runs in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead at 6-4, highlighted by a three-run pinch-hit home run from Kristen Schell. The Illini rallied again. After a two-out single by Jenna Hall, freshman Shanna Diller (2-for-4, walk, two RBI, run) hit a home run off the scoreboard in left center to tie the game at six. The home run, her sixth of the season, broke the Illinois record for most home runs by a freshman. The Boilermakers, however retook the lead again with two walks and two base hits in the bottom of the fifth.
That's when DeVreese put it into overdrive, retiring nine in a row and striking out seven for the third straight game. "Claire has come in relief the last few games and showed what she is capable of," Sullivan said. "She has really matured and our catchers are working well with her."
With Illinois down 7-6, Jenna Hall (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 RBI) tied Diller for the team lead in home runs with a solo shot to lead off the inning.
Both teams left runners on base in the eighth and ninth before Purdue won it with a run in bottom the ninth. Catherine Zaworski walked with one out, advanced to second on a sacrifice, stole third and scored on Katie Absher's suicide bunt.
Junior Jackelyn Diekemper (2-for-5) joined five teammates with multi-hit games.
"The hitting got going in that second game," said Sullivan. "We had so many people contribute and our team showed a lot of heart. It hurts to lose, but we still have some games left to make something happen in the Big Ten. We're just focused on building on what we were able to do today and take it into Tuesday and next weekend."
Purdue easily won the first game of the day. The Boilers scored six runs on the three hits and two errors in the fourth inning. The Illini had just one hit, a Rachelle Coriddi bunt single, off Brooke Baker.