Softball Suffers Doubleheader Setback at Northwestern
May 11, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - Illinois softball suffered a pair of losses at Northwestern's Drysdale Field on Friday afternoon, falling in game one, 3-2, before dropping the second contest, 7-3. Redshirt-junior Jessica Davis went 3-for-7 (.429) with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored on the day, drawing a walk to reach in 4-of-8 plate appearances. Junior pitcher Jackie Guy reached in all four plate appearances during the second contest, earning two singles, a walk and a hit by pitch. Stephanie Cuevas threw out four Wildcats runners during steal attempts over the doubleheader, giving the junior catcher 17 caught stolen bases on the season, the third-most in a single year for an Illinois backstop.
"We didn't play aggressive softball as a team today," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "Northwestern executed when they needed to. Tomorrow we will play our game."
Game One: Northwestern 3, Illinois 2
Illinois tallied in the first frame for the fourth consecutive contest, scoring one run on a solo long ball by Davis. The Orange and Blue threatened for more during the initial inning, with senior first baseman Meredith Hackett, senior designated player Kelley Wedel and freshman center fielder Brittany Sanchez each drawing a walk to load the bases. However, junior catcher Stephanie Cuevas went down on strikes to end the top of the first.
After Northwestern tied the contest with an Emily Allard RBI-double, Illinois responded with one run in the fifth to go ahead, 2-1. With two out in the frame, freshman third baseman Jess Perkins knocked a solo home run over the left field fence after falling behind, 0-2, in the count.
Junior Pepper Gay was served the loss in the contest, falling to 22-14 this year with three runs allowed - two earned - on six hits and two walks while striking out two Wildcats.
Amy Letourneau (11-9) secured the win for Northwestern with two earned runs given up on three hits and four walks, pitching a complete game while striking out six.
Game Two: Northwestern 7, Illinois 3
The Wildcats answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, earning a 4-1 lead heading to the second inning. Marisa Bast connected on a bases loaded sacrifice fly out to left field to tie the contest at 1-1. Sammy Albanese followed with an RBI-single while Olivia Duehr added the third run on a bunt single to first base, pushing the lead to 3-1. Albanese scored the final run of the frame during Edwards at bat on a double-steal of home plate and second base. With Duehr at second and a three-run deficit, Guy settled in to put away Edwards on a ground out to freshman second baseman Jami Schkade to move the contest into the second inning.
The Illini (27-25 overall, 10-13 Big Ten) cut the Northwestern lead to one run by scoring a pair in the top of the second. With one out, Guy singled and advanced to second when Cuevas reached on an error before redshirt-senior Danielle Vaji singled to load the bases. Sophomore pinch hitter Jenna Mychko followed with an RBI-single through the right side before Davis knocked the ball through the left side to pull Illinois within 4-3.
Northwestern tacked on three unanswered to go ahead by the eventual final score, 7-3. In the fourth, Allard singled in one runner to pull ahead, 5-3, while an Edwards RBI-double and Allard run-scoring ground out in the sixth totaled the sixth and seventh runs of the contest for the Wildcats.
Guy fell to 5-11 on the year with 5 1/3 innings of work, allowing nine hits and three walks while striking out four and giving up seven runs. Gay subbed in to the game in the sixth frame, pitching the final 2/3 of an inning for the Orange and Blue.
Meghan Lamberth secured the win with 5 2/3 innings of relief, holding Illinois to four hits and one walk, striking out a pair. Albanese started the contest for Northwestern, going 1 1/3 frames while allowing three runs on four hits and one walk, striking out one.
Illinois and Northwestern (26-27, 13-10) conclude the regular season with one contest on Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. CT, with the Wildcats celebrating their senior day in the process.