Angelena Mexicano broke the Illinois' single-season RBI record with her 44th vs. Purdue.
April 15, 2006
Urbana, Ill. - "If anyone knows how it feels it should be us, I suppose," said Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan following the Illini's 8-5, 10-inning loss to Purdue Saturday at Eichelberger Field.
Illinois (18-24, 4-6) has made a habit of late in rallying in the final innings to post a shocking loss to an opponent. It's happened twice this week alone. The Illini scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Penn State 7-5 on Sunday and Wednesday scored six runs in the final two innings to stun DePaul 6-4.
Unfortunately for the Illini Saturday, they were on the other end of the score. Leading 5-3 with two outs and nobody on for Purdue (26-23, 4-6) in the bottom of the seventh, the Boilers rallied for two runs to tie it. Becky Stone was hit by a pitch. Tricia Lilley singled up the middle and DaQueta Johnson drove them both in with a double to the gap in right-center field.
The Boilers' Staci Falzon delivered a three-run home run to end it in the 10th. That homer followed one in a string of great defensive plays for Illinois. With runners at second and third and one out, Purdue tried to squeeze in the game-winner, but pitcher Kacey Coonce bear-handed the ball and flipped to catcher Lana Armstrong, who applied the tag for the final out.
"The loss doesn't take away the fact that we are playing some pretty good softball all the way around," Sullivan said.
Third baseman Shanna Diller came up with two gems, one knocking down a line drive then firing to first to end the seventh on a play that could have been the game-winner. Right-fielder Sarah Bryers threw out a runner at second on a ball that landed just in front of her in the sixth. Molly Lawhead made a nice grab in left field then fired to first to double off a runner to end the fifth.
Angelena Mexicano broke Illinois' all-time RBI record with a run-scoring double in the third, giving her 44 for the year. Junior Kisten Martin has been swinging a hot bat of late. Martin delivered a two-run single in the third to give the Illini a 3-0 lead, then after Purdue had tied the score, gave the Illini the lead with a solo home run to right field in the fifth, her third of the season.
Both relievers, Coonce and Purdue's Diana LaRiva were tough. Following Coonce's single, the Illini managed just two hits off LaRiva (10-9) in the final 5.2 innings. Coonce had a pair of strikeouts in holding the Boilers at bay until the seventh.
Illinois hosts Indiana in a doubleheader on Easter Sunday beginning at noon.