Illinois Falls to Missouri in NCAA Regional Opener
May 16, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Illinois scored first, but the Missouri Tigers battled back to capture a 5-1 win in the NCAA Regional contest at University Field on Saturday morning. The Illini will play an elimination game against No. 15 DePaul at 4 p.m. following the matchup between Missouri and Bradley.
"Missouri outplayed us on both sides of the ball," Illini head coach Terri Sullivan said. "I thought Missouri's pitcher (Chelsea Thomas) adjusted well and we just couldn't come up with a clutch hit to get any momentum. Every time we had a little bit of an opening, they shut us down."
Before the rains came and suspended Friday's originally scheduled game, Illinois took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Rightfielder Hope Howell knocked a slow roller in front of the plate and beat out the throw for a single. Howell advanced to second on a passed ball then scored when leftfielder Hollie Pinchback singled down the leftfield line.
When action resumed Saturday, the Tigers tied it up in the bottom of the first after a lead-off single and hit-by-pitch put runners at first and second. The Illini picked up two quick outs, but Tiger designated player Lindsey Ubrun knocked a tricky grounder to short for a base-hit, but Illinois shortstop Ashley Conrad had trouble fielding the ball, allowing centerfielder Rhea Taylor scored from second.
Missouri went on top in the second thanks to a single and two-run homer by third baseman Gina Schneider. Another two-run shot off the bat of leftfielder Kathryn Poet gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead.
Illini starter Monica Perry (24-14) went the distance, giving up four earned runs on seven hits while fanning two and walking just one. Tiger Chelsea Thomas picked up the win, allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.