Iowa outlasts Illinois, 3-2 in 8 innings

Erin Montgomery hit her 12th home run against Iowa
Erin Montgomery hit her 12th home run against Iowa

May 9, 2003

Final Stats

Iowa City, Iowa - Illinois came into Friday's Big Ten Tournament game with Iowa 5-0-1 in extra inning games, while the Hawkeyes were 2-4. Unfortunately for Illinois, the trends did not continue. Iowa outlasted Illinois 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the eighth to advance in the tournament. Illinois will play Michigan State in an elimination game at 6:15 p.m. Iowa plays Northwestern at 8:45 p.m. for the right to advance to the championship game on Saturday.

Two weeks ago, the Illini gave up 15 runs in back to back shutouts against the Hawkeyes. Friday was a different story. Illinois took a pair of leads and were the aggressors most of the game. The Illini struck first in the third. Rachelle Coriddi tripled with one out and scored on a ground out by Lindsey Hamma.

Amanda Fortune allowed just one hit in the first three innings. She faced the minimum number of batters after Janna Sartini threw a runner out trying to steal and Janna Hall made a spectacular play on a bunt attempt, diving to catch the ball in the air and doubling up the runner at first in the third.

Iowa finally broke through with a run in the fourth. Fortune walked three Hawkeye batters, including Lisa Birocci with the bases loaded. Fortune was able to work out of the jam without giving up another run, striking out Kylie Murray to end the inning.

Erin Montgomery gave Illinois the lead back with her 12th home run to lead off the sixth inning making it 2-1 Illinois. Iowa came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth, but again left the bases loaded. Laura Chipman, who came into the game batting just .194 and had four RBI, delivered a two-out single to right, scoring Lindsey Bashor.

"Erin Montgomery had some really good at-bats," said Illinois Head Coach Terri Sullivan. "She was seeing the ball well and delivered like she has most of the season."

Iowa out-hit Illinois 9-3. Erin Montgomery had two of those hits. Montgomery led off the eighth with a double to center, but Illinois couldn't get her home.

Iowa won the game in the eighth when another unlikely hero, pinch hitter Ali Arnold, who had 13 at-bats on the year, delivered a single to right, scoring Jessica Bashor with the game-winning run.

"This time of the year, you expect tight games," said Illinois Sullivan. "We showed a lot of maturity in playing in the moment. Unfortunately, Iowa got the key hits when they needed them and that was the difference today."