Sherri Taylor pitched ten innings and struck out eight vs. DePaul
April 24, 2003
Urbana, Ill. - No. 21 Illinois got one of its best tests of the season on Thursday evening at Eichelberger Field. The Illini battled No. 6 DePaul toe-to-toe for 17 innings. The results were a DePaul 3-0 win in game one and a 1-1 tie in the second game. Play was finally called due to lightning in the bottom of the tenth inning of the second game.
The games were a big tune-up heading into Sunday's doubleheader with Iowa. The Hawkeyes lead the Illini by 1/2 in the standings with just four games to play in the conference race.
Illinois got some great pitching out of junior Sherri Taylor in the second game. Taylor faced the minimum number of batters through three innings and struck out eight batters in 10 innings of work. Taylor allowed just the one run on seven hits and three walks.
DePaul's Sarah Martz, who entered the game hitting .496 on the season, singled to center scoring Ashley Parker to make it 1-0 DePaul in the sixth. The Illini, facing DePaul ace Lindsey Chouinard, who entered the doubleheader with a 0.36 ERA, finally broke through in the bottom of the inning. Illinois scored its first run against Chouinard in 17 innings when pinch hitter Lauren Gronski doubled to left with two outs, scoring Janna Sartini from first.
Illinois had several other opportunities to score. Jenna Hall doubled leading off both the second and the fourth. In that fourth, Hall advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Erin Montgomery. Sartini, who tied a team record with four walks in the second game, was issued a free pass. One out later, Katie O'Connell was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Illinois was unable to score.
The Illini had another big chance in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded again. Illinois left 12 men on base for the game. In that eighth, Lindsey Hamma and Hall singled to open the inning, putting runners on first and third with nobody out. One out later, Sartini was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Chouinard retired the final two batters. Hall was 3- for-5 for the game and 4-for-8 for the doubleheader.
In the first game, the Illini, who came in ranked No. 12 in the nation in fielding, committed four errors. Two of those errors led to two DePaul runs in the fifth. Sarah Douglas and Saskia Roberson drove home runs for DePaul in the inning. In the sixth, Chouinard led off with a solo home run to make it 3-0 DePaul. Jackelyn Diekemper gave up just one hit while striking out one in the final two innings of the game for Illinois.
Illinois had five hits in the first game, two by Sartini. In fact, Sartini reached base all seven times at the plate in the twinbill, going 2-for-2 with four walks and one hit batsman.
Illinois takes a 35-9-1 record into Sunday's big doubleheader with Iowa. The final home games of the regular season are Tuesday against Valparaiso. First pitch of game one is 4 p.m.