Illinois sweeps Valpo

Sherri Taylor threw a perfect game against Valparaiso
Sherri Taylor threw a perfect game against Valparaiso

April 29, 2003

Urbana Ill. - After struggling over the weekend at Iowa, No. 24 Illinois needed to get back on track. The Illini did just that in posting back-to-back five inning victories over Valparaiso on Tuesday, winning 18-0 in game one and 13-0 in game two. In the second game, Illini junior Sherri Taylor tossed the first ever perfect game in Illini history.

In game two, Taylor was masterful in improving her record to 9-4 on the season. Taylor struck out nine of the first 12 batters she faced and didn't allow a ball out of the infield in the five innings. As with most perfect games, you need a little help from the defense. Taylor got that when second baseman Rachelle Coriddi, who moved to second from centerfield, made a leaping catch to the end the game.

Amanda Fortune, Jackelyn Diekemper and Kelly Lesemann combined to give up two hits and post eight strikeouts in the first game Fortune struck out five in pitching a perfect two innings.

In game one, things started early for the Illini, scoring eight runs in the first and six in the second to take a 14-0 lead. Illinois added three more in the third. Erin Montgomery went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI in the opener. Montgomery and Janna Sartini hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the second inning. The Illini pounded out 16 hits in the victory. Rachelle Coriddi was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Lindsey Hamma drove home four runs in three plate appearances, a two-run triple, a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly.

In game two, the Illini went down in order in the first and looked like it might be a different game. But it just took Illinois a little longer to get going. Illinois scored five in the second, four in the third and four more in the fourth to win it 13-0. The Illini had 14 hits in that game, including a triple from Rachelle Coriddi and another home run from Montgomery. Illinois sent nine players to the plate in the second inning, eight in the third and eight more in the fourth. The hot bat in game two belonged to Katie O'Connell who was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI.

Illinois played all 19 players available on the night. Katie Bradley drove in a run with a pinch hit in the fourth, giving her six pinch hits in 10 pinch hitting opportunities on the season.

The games were the last at Eichelberger Field this season. Illinois finished the year 11-2-1 at home, which brings the all-time record at Eichelberger Field to 37-9-1. Before the game, Illinois honored the 2000 Fighting Illini team, the first in Illinois history. Pitchers from that team - Pam Almanza and Annie Rymer, threw out the first pitches.

Illinois moves to 37-11-1 on the season while Valparaiso falls to 7-33. Illinois faces Northwestern in single games on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday and at Noon on Sunday.