Danielle Zymkowitz went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and walk on the contest, also playing stellar defense at second to help keep the Gophers off the base paths.
May 14, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Orange and Blue concluded the 2011 regular season with a loss at Minnesota in the bottom of the seventh inning, 3-2, on Saturday, May 14. Illinois starting pitcher Pepper Gay allowed only three runs on the game after tossing a complete game shutout on Friday, but took the loss on a walk-off RBI-single by Alex Davis. Danielle Zymkowitz went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk, while Jessica Davis, Meredith Hackett and Audrey Gallien each recorded one hit.
"Today, Minnesota's starter, Sara Moulton, pitched herself out of some jams and we didn't get the clutch hits we needed," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "We left too many runners on base and didn't take advantage of Minnesota's mistakes. Pepper [Gay] kept us in game with another great performance but we didn't execute well enough. We competed with tough conditions but didn't get the job done."
Minnesota (31-24 overall, 9-11 Big Ten) tallied first, scoring one run in the bottom of the opening frame to take a 1-0 advantage. Jessie Hathaway drew a bases loaded walk to plate the initial run of the game before Gay worked out of the jam on the next hitter, inducing a ground out by Allie Siu to strand the rest of the Gophers' runners.
Illinois (27-22, 12-8) responded with a run in the third inning to even the score at 1-1. Zymkowitz walked and stole second to put a runner in scoring position with no one out. Two batters later, Davis reached on an error by the Minnesota second baseman, Dannie Skrove, one of six Gophers errors on the day. On the play, as Skrove tried to field the ball and throw to first in hopes of retiring Davis before she reached the bag, Zymkowitz hustled around third and safely slid into home to tie the contest.
Minnesota immediately answered with another run to re-take the lead in the bottom of the third frame. Skrove led off with a triple and scored during the following at bat when Kari Dorle grounded out to Meredith Hackett at first base. The Orange and Blue used another Minnesota miscue to tie the game for the second time, scoring one run in the fifth inning. Zymkowitz singled to lead off and advanced to second one batter later when Hackett reached on an infield single. Davis again reached base safely on an error, this time by Hathaway at shortstop, while Zymkowitz raced home during the play.
Minnesota plated the final run of the contest with two outs and a runner on second base in the final frame. Skrove walked with one out and stole second one batter later with Alex Davis at the plate. Davis followed with a soft line drive to left field as Skrove scored on the play to conclude the contest.
Up Next: The loss at Minnesota on Saturday concludes the regular season for the Illini. In order for the 2011 season to continue, Illinois needs to be selected for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The 2011 NCAA Tournament selection show will be conducted live on ESPNU at 10:00 p.m. EST.