Illini Offense Boils Over Purdue in 10-6 Win

Freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Illinois' 10-6 win over Purdue.
Freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Illinois' 10-6 win over Purdue.

April 29, 2009

Box Score (Game One) | Box Score (Game Two)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Freshman rightfielder Katie Lutes was magnificent in her first career start, ripping a key two-out double and collecting three RBIs in Illinois' 10-6 win over the Purdue Boilermakers in game two of a doubleheader on Wednesday evening at the Varsity Softball Complex. The Illini (27-15, 10-7 Big Ten) dropped a 4-1 decision to Purdue (27-18, 10-8 Big Ten) in the first game of the day.

"Bouncing back was just what we needed to do, and our team knew that we had to come out and play more aggressively in the second game," Illini head coach Terri Sullivan said. "Everyone was frustrated from what they didn't do in the first game, but they responded with stronger defense and more aggression at the plate."

Seven different Illini collected at least one hit and six different Illini drove in a run in the second contest. Senior designated player Katrina Ross continued to have a hot bat, going 2-for-4 in game two and driving in her 10th run in the last six games, while freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett was also clutch, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs in game two. In addition to a solid defensive performance, freshman third baseman Kelley Wedel went 3-for-5 in game two with an RBI and two runs.

"We had contributions from across the board, obviously with Katie and Meredith coming up big for us at the plate," Sullivand said. "Defensively, Kelley and (sophomore second baseman) Danielle Zymkowitz were walls for us in the infield. We needed that from them because Purdue is aggressive on the base-paths, so keeping them off the bases was key."

After playing through two scoreless innings in the second game of the day, the Illini busted open for six runs in the third. Sophomore shortstop Ashley Conrad got things rolling with a one-out walk and Zymkowitz followed with an infield single. Sophomore leftfielder Hollie Pinchback knocked a bouncer to short, but Purdue shortstop Liane Horiuchi misplayed the ball, loading the bases for designated player Katrina Ross. Ross slapped the ball to second, driving in Conrad for the 1-0 lead.

The Illini, who have been notorious for scoring with two outs this season, continued the trend as they added five more runs in the inning. Freshman third baseman Kelley Wedel plated Zymkowitz with an RBI-single and after senior catcher Lana Armstrong walked, freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett smoked a double to left field to make it 4-0. Lutes, in just her sixth career at-bat, cleared the bases with a sharp double to right field, extending the lead to 6-0.

Purdue scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth, but the Orange and Blue more than made up for the runs, tallying four of their own over the fifth and sixth. Hackett singled and scored in both innings, while Zymkowitz collected two RBIs in the span, taking a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and knocking an RBI-single. Lutes and freshman centerfielder Jamie Adishian also drove in a run apiece in the sixth.

The Boilermakers battled back in the bottom of the seventh with three runs, but their rally fell short as freshman hurler Monica Perry retired the final two for the 10-6 win.

In game one, Purdue jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, putting the first two batters on with a hit-by-pitch and base-hit. Both runners scored thanks to a trio of stolen bases and a sacrifice fly.

Illinois cut the lead to one in the third when Zymkowitz reached on a fielder's choice then sophomore shortstop Audrey Gallien doubled to the gap in left-center. Zymkowitz rounded for home and was called safe after an interference call on the Purdue catcher.

The Boilermakers put up two more runs on an Illini miscue to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third, and Illinois was unable to battle back from the deficit, stranding seven runners in the loss.

Perry (22-13) tossed both complete games, allowing just two earned runs on four hits in the first contest with three strikeouts. In game two, the freshman hurler allowed six earned runs on eight hits while fanning one. Through 13 innings, Perry walked just one batter.

Illinois wraps up the regular season this weekend with a two-game series at Minnesota. The Illini and Gophers square off at 1 p.m. on Saturday before concluding the series Sunday at 1 p.m.