Iowa holds on to defeat Illinois, 4-3
May 7, 2005
Iowa City, Iowa - - Illinois junior Jenna Hall hit her eighth home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth, but it was not enough as the Illini came up just short to No. 18 Iowa as the Hawkeyes won 4-3.
Iowa, who improves to 46-10 overall and clinches third place in the Big Ten with a 12-5 record, is now 4-0 vs. Illinois in Iowa City and 7-5 vs. the Illini overall. Illinois falls to 23-26 overall and 3-14 in the Big Ten.
Hall was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI, and a run scored to go along with the home run. She now has 39 RBI for the season, one shy of the Illinois all-time single-season record. Stacey May (2-for-3, run) and Kylie Murray (2-for-4) each had two hits for Iowa, who out-hit Illinois 8-6.
Iowa scored a run in the top of the first as Emily Nichols was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Illini starter Jackelyn Diekemper (2-3) got out of the jam getting the next batter to line to Angelena Mexicano who forced the runner out at third for a double play. May and Emily Heiderken each had hits, and Heiderken scored on a passed ball as Iowa took a 2-0 lead with a run in the second.
Natalie Johnson hit a two-run pinch hit home run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-0 Hawkeyes before Illinois began its rally.
Iowa ace Lisa Birocci (26-7) didn't give up a hit until Hall's fourth-inning single. The Illini got an unearned run in the fifth to pull within 4-1.
The Illini got closer in the fifth. LeeAnn Butcher reached on an infield single setting up left-handed hitting Jenna Hall's opposite field blast. Shanna Diller and Julie Balicki singled putting two runners on with no outs. Ali Arnold relieved Birocci. After striking out the first batter she faced, Laura Zobrist coaxed the walk to load the bases. Arnold, however, struck out the final two batters to end the rally.