Diller Goes Deep As Illini Fall Short Against Iowa
May 3, 2008
URBANA, Ill. - Third baseman Shanna Diller belted her ninth home run of the season but Illinois (30-30, 8-11 Big Ten) came up short against the Iowa Hawkeyes (37-17, 13-6 Big Ten) in a 5-2 loss before a season-high crowd of 578 fans thanks to the World's Largest Softball Tailgate V at Eichelberger Field at Martin Stadium. Diller finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
"Offense was really what we lacked today," head coach Terri Sullivan said. "We never got much momentum going because we didn't have any leadoff batters on until the seventh. Our offense needs to come out and be more aggressive tomorrow."
Christine Christopoulos (0-3) took the loss for Illinois after allowing three earned runs on four hits and striking out five through three innings of work. Ashley Wright tossed the final four innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
"Christine has done a nice job starting for us," Sullivan said. "She carries herself well and has good presence on the mound. It's just once in awhile getting behind in the count and having too much of the ball over the plate that we need to work on. We actually ended up having more strikeouts than Iowa, which I think shows that their pitches can move and can work."
After Christopoulos breezed through the first inning, Illinois put a pair of runs up in the first inning for the early lead. Shortstop Angelena Mexicano reached on an error then moved to second a passed ball before Diller took a 3-2 pitch over the rightfield wall to make it 2-0.
Iowa responded in the second with two home runs to knot the game up. The Hawkeyes added another home run in the fourth to take their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Down 5-2 after Iowa put a pair of runs on the board in the sixth, the Illini threatened in the bottom half of the inning, putting runners at the corners with one out. Hawkeye pitcher Brittany Weil (24-12) worked out of the jam to stifle the comeback and seal Iowa's victory.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the regular season finale. The Illini will honor their six seniors in a pre-game ceremony beginning approximately 15 minutes before first pitch.