Illinois sweeps Salukis

Julie Balicki drove home the game-winning runs vs. SIU Tuesday
Julie Balicki drove home the game-winning runs vs. SIU Tuesday

April 27, 2004

Final Stats

Urbana, Ill. - After scoring just three runs in four games over the weekend, the Illini softball team devoted Monday's practice exclusively to offense. That work paid off as Illinois posted 14 hits and swept a doubleheader from nationally regarded Southern Illinois (35-14). The Illini (34-17-1) needed extra innings to post a 3-2 victory in the opener, then earned a come-from-behind win by the same 3-2 score in game two in front of a crowd of 432 at Eichelberger Field.

"We gave everyone the challenge to come out and make it happen offensively," said Illinois coach Terri Sullivan. "This was another great team win. We tell everyone to be ready when called upon and we found a lot of different players step up tonight and contribute to our wins."

Lindsey Hamma drove in all three runs for Illinois in the opener, the first on a two-out, two-run triple to right field in the third. Rachelle Coriddi blooped a single into left field with one out then moved to second on Erin Jones' slow-rolling infield single. One out later, Hamma smacked a triple down the right-field line to drive in both runners and give the Illini a 2-0 advantage.

The Salukis got one run back when left fielder Katie Jordan blasted a solo home run to dead-center field in the fourth inning to set the Southern Illinois school record with the 25th homer of her career, her 11th of the season.

Two innings later, Southern Illinois third baseman Haley Viefhaus hit a line-drive solo home run to right field, tying the game at 2 after five-and-a-half innings.

Amanda Fortune (21-9) gave up just four hits in eight innings, while striking out nine, including the side in the first. After the second home run, Fortune retired the final seven batters of the game.

Illinois won the game with a pair of hits in the eighth inning. Erin Jones (3-for-4, 2 runs) began the frame with a double to left field. Jenna Hall (2-for-4) singled to center moving Jones to third. The next hitter, Lindsey Hamma, drove in the game winner with a grounder to deep short. The throw home was late to get Jones, and the Illini prevailed.

Julie Balicki got the start at designated player in the game two and figured in all three Illinois runs. She reached on an error to lead off the third. Elene Planinsek pinch ran for Balicki and scored on a passed ball.

Southern Illinois responded with two runs in the fourth on a two-run home run off the left-center field scoreboard from Cassidy Scoggins.

Illinois responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Erin Montgomery and Katie O'Connell singled ahead of Balicki, who drove in the game-tying and winning runs with a double to the gap in left-center field, making it 3-2 Illinois.

Southern Illinois out-hit Illinois 10-6 and left 12 runners on base in the nightcap. Jackelyn Diekemper (3-0), who entered the game after the home run, recorded the pitching victory, pitching an inning and two-thirds. Fortune pitched the final two innings to record her fourth save of the year.

Illinois heads to Wisconsin and Minnesota for two games apiece this weekend then returns home to meet Parkland College on May 5.