Angelena Mexicano had two home runs in the Chicagoland Classic
Sept. 19, 2006
Orland Park, Ill. - Illinois softball remained undefeated during the fall exhibition season by winning all five games over the weekend at the Chicagoland Classic in Orland Park, Ill., to claim the tournament title. The Illini are 6-0 for the fall ahead of a game with Parkland College on Friday at Eichelberger Field and the Alumni game Sunday at Noon.
The Illini were solid in all three phases of the game, posting a .323 batting average, a 1.06 earned-run average, and a .981 fielding percentage. With returning starting pitcher Claire DeVreese recovering from off-season surgery, Illinois has turned to freshmen to take to the circle during the fall. Vicky Brown had a near perfect weekend, tossing a no-hitter against Western Illinois and a seven-hit shutout of traditional power UIC. Ashley Wright, a highly touted lefty from Santa Rosa, Calif., went 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 11 strikeouts for the weekend.
Offensively, Angelena Mexicano drove in seven runs and hit two home runs, including a walk-off two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh against Loyola. Senior tri-captain Molly Lawhead batted .588 (10-for-17) with a double, triple and five RBI.
"Our staff and players are pleased with our play on the weekend from many different perspectives," said Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan. "The confidence they have gained from an execution standpoint, and the enthusiasm and hard work they have put in this fall are encouraging. We have had some clutch hitting form the upperclassmen and saw our young pitchers throw out of jams without getting rattled." Here is a recap of the five games:
Illinois 2, Western Illinois 0 - Freshman Vicki Brown allowed just one base runner, a two-out walk in the fourth inning while striking out seven. Brittany Koester tripled and scored in the fifth, while Mexicano singled and scored in the third. Lawhead was 2-for-3.
Illinois 4, South Dakota St. 1 - Ashley Wright tossed a seven-hit, complete game, striking out five. Illinois scored a pair of runs on a two-run double from Mexicano, scoring Shanna Diller and Lawhead then added two more runs in the seventh. Freshman Hope Howell singled and scored on an RBI single from Lawhead. After Mexicano doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out, Kisten Martin drove home Lawhead with a ground out. Lawhead was 3-for-4 while Mexicano was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Illinois 8, St. Xavier 3 - Koester was 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, leading a 14-hit barrage by the Illini. Sydney Lisy was 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored, while Martin had two hits and two RBI. Mexicano tripled in two runs and scored on Martin's single in a three-run seventh inning. Martin and junior Makenzie Smith had RBI in a two-run third, and Lawhead scored two with a double in the fourth.
Illinois 3, UIC 0 - Illinois will play UIC for the first time in school history at Eichelberger Field in March. The Illini got an early look at the Flames in a 3-0 shutout. Brown got out of a bases loaded jam in the third by striking out the final batter of the inning, then worked out of a first and third and no out situation in the sixth by getting three pop ups. Lawhead tripled home two runs in the third inning, Mexicano led off the sixth with a home run to account for the Illinois scoring.
Illinois 2, Loyola 0 - Mexicano had a two-out, two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh with Howell aboard to win the game. Wright allowed just three hits and a walk, retired the last nine batters she faced, and struck out four. Lawhead had two hits.