Illini can't Foster momentum
May 4, 2003
Evanston, Ill. - The Illini entered the final weekend of the season hoping to gain some momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament. Instead they ran into the hottest pitcher in the Big Ten in Northwestern ace Courtnay Foster. The Illini managed just one run in two days, falling Sunday, 2-1.
Erin Jones' infield single was the only Illinois hit off of Foster on the day. Foster allowed just one unearned run and ran her streak of not giving up an earned run 45 innings. Illinois is now 2-5-1 in its last eight games and has lost its final four Big Ten games.
While Saturday Northwestern won with 11 hits and two home runs, each team manufactured its runs on Sunday. Northwestern took a 1-0 lead when Carri Leto walked, was sacrificed to second, then scored when Erin Mobley's line single hit off shortstop Lindsey Hamma's glove.
The Illini answered in the bottom of the third with their first run off of Foster in two days.. Rachelle Coriddi reached on an error. Lindsey Hamma walked for the fourth time in two days. Jenna Hall's long fly out advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Erin Montgomery delivered her team-leading 36th RBI with a ground out to short, scoring Coriddi.
Northwestern drove Illini starter Sherri Taylor from the game with three hard-hit singles in the top of the fifth. Amanda Fortune, who had pitched out of two such jams in relief in recent weeks made a valiant effort to do so again. Fortune, who entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, struck out Robyn Pettinger on a high fastball leaving the bases loaded and two outs. Unfortunately for Fortune she threw a wild pitch to the next batter, allowing Brett Nakabayashi to score from third.
Fortune pitched out of a base loaded jam in the top of the seventh, but the Illini bats didn't have an answer for Foster (17-8). Erin Montgomery's long ball cleared the fence, but curved just outside the foul pole that would have given Illinois the lead in the sixth.
Illinois finishes the season in fourth place in the Big Ten and will play Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The winner meets host Iowa in the finale of the four games on Thursday.