Penn State edges Illini, 3-2
April 16, 2005
State College, Pa. - Illinois still finds itself looking for a win in the Big Ten, but Saturday's game was by the narrowest of margins. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Shanna Diller took a 2-2 pitch and delivered it into right field for a base hit. LeeAnn Butcher rounded third for the would-be tying run, but right fielder Steph Viola threw out Butcher with a strike to the catcher Hollee Haines, who applied the tag to end the game. Four of Illinois' (18-22, 0-10) ten losses have come by one run.
Penn State's Jen Acunto nearly hit for the cycle, with a single, double and a triple to go along with one run scored. Penn State out-hit the Illini, 5-4. For Illinois Julie Balicki continued to get on base, having done so four times in the series. On Saturday Balicki reached on a walk, on an error, and by getting hit by a pitch. Rachelle Coriddi was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The Illini out-hit the Nittany Lions, 8-6.
The Illini have been prone to having a player who gets on base via the walk scoring. It happened again Saturday. PSU's Jenn Reynolds reached on a walk and scored on a double to the gap from Katie Stauffer in the second inning.
The Lions added another run in the second inning. Jen Acunto tripled off the fence in right field and scored on a ground out by the pitcher Ashley Esparza. Penn State went up 3-0 with a run on two hits in the fifth. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Haines, scoring Viola.
The Illini had their opportunities in the game. Illinois threatened in the first inning thanks to two infield singles (by LeeAnn Butcher and Shanna Diller), but left the bases loaded. In the third, Rachelle Coriddi led off with a single to center, but was left stranded.
In the fifth inning it looked as if Penn State reliever Missy Beseres was going to pitch out of a jam. After starter Ashley Esparza (7-4) gave up back to back doubles to Angelena Mexicano and Rachelle Coriddi, Illinois had runners at second and third with one out. After two outs and a walk to Jenna Hall, the bases were loaded with two outs. The Penn State shortstop dropped a major league pop-up off the bat of Balicki, allowing two runs to score.
Mary Miller came into the game and threw a perfect 1.1 innings, giving Illinois a chance to win. In the seventh, Butcher reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Beseres, who struck out five in her three innings of work, struck out two Illini in the seventh.