Illinois regains hitting stroke
April 13, 2005
Urbana, Ill. - After struggling at the plate for the first two weeks of the Big Ten season, the Illini bats have regained their power over the past four days. On Sunday, the Illini tied a season-high with 15 hits in an 8-7 defeat at Purdue. On Wednesday evening, Illinois had 12 hits in the first game of the doubleheader with a DePaul, a similar type of game as Purdue but with a different result, a 7-6 Illinois victory. Illinois tallied a half dozen hits in a 5-1 loss to the Blue Demons in the second game. Illinois stands 18-20 on the season heading into a Big Ten road trip at Penn State and Ohio State.
In the opener, Illinois scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie, then held on as DePaul rallied for two runs in the seventh. Five of the 12 Illini hits came from the top of the order as Rachelle Coriddi went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Second place hitter Molly Lawhead was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Julie Balicki also had a good day, going 2-for-3 with and RBI and a run scored in the opener and 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the nightcap.
DePaul took a 1-0 lead in game one with a run in the first off starter Claire DeVreese. Shanna Diller tied the game with a single to right in the third scoring Lawhead. LeeAnn Butcher's sacrifice fly and Rachelle Coriddi's run scoring single made it 3-1 Illinois.
DePaul retook the lead with a three-spot in the fourth. Six of DePaul's eight hits in the first game came from Saskia Roberson (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) and Jessica Evans (3-for-4, 3B, 3 RBI). Roberson singled in one run and Evans gave the Demons the lead back with a triple down the right field line, scoring two more.
The Illini weren't done, however. Balicki's two-out double scored Jackelyn Diekemper from first for the game tying run. The Illini went ahead for good with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on four hits as Illinois sent eight batters to the plate. Lawhead delivered what proved to the game winner with a single to left scoring Butcher, who had reached on an infield single. The Illini used a DePaul error and Diekemper ground out to score the final two runs on the inning.
Roberson brought DePaul to within a run with a long two-run home run into the wind. Claire DeVreese came back into the game in relief and forced the Blue Demons to leave the tying and lead runs on base, forcing two ground outs to end the game.
"Our offense we believe is the strength of our team," said Head Coach Terri Sullivan. "It's nice to see how our team responded in a positive way over the past two games. DePaul came in here with a nine-game winning streak, so we were able to do it against a good team."
The Illini weren't as fortunate in game two. DePaul scored two runs in the second and fourth and added another in the sixth to gain the split. The Demons managed just five hits on the game, but took advantage of five walks off Illinois pitchers. Laura Zobrist (2-for-3) was the only player on either team with more than one hit in the game.