Angelena Mexicano led the Illini last weekend with two home runs, including a grand slam, and seven RBIs.
Feb. 27, 2008
Host: Florida Atlantic
Location: Boca Raton, Fla.
Facility: FAU Softball Stadium
Gametracker: Available at fightingillini.com
Friday, Feb. 29
vs. Rutgers 9 a.m. (ET)/8 a.m. (CT)
vs. Central Michigan 11 a.m. (ET)/10 a.m. (CT)
Saturday, March 1
vs. Bethune-Cookman 4 p.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (CT)
at Florida Atlantic 8 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (CT)
Sunday, March 2
vs. TBD TBA
Top of The Order
...7-0 when leading after 4 innings
...7-0 when having more hits than opponent
...6-0 when scoring first
...6-2 when hitting at least one home run
Fresh Attack: The Illinois freshman class continued its offensive tear at the Golden Panther Invitational, as two newcomers homered and leadoff batter Danielle Zymkowitz scored a team-leading five runs. In addition to Zymkowitz, four other freshmen crossed the plate over the weekend to score a combined six runs. Hollie Pinchback launched her second home of the season, while Audrey Gallien belted the first long ball of her career against UConn. Zymkowitz continues to lead the Illini with a .353 batting average and 13 runs scored.
Back, Back, Back, Gone: Illinois continued its home run barrage, going deep four times during the Golden Panther Invitational. Angelena Mexicano continued her tear, blasting two long balls while Pinchback and Gallien each had one. Seven different Illini have combined for Illinois' 13 home runs on the season.
Angelic Angelena: Mexicano delivered a heavenly performance at the Golden Panther Invitational, belting two home runs, including a grand slam, and driving in seven runs. She is now just one home run shy of tying the school's career record of 33, held by Jenna Hall.
The Wright Stuff: Ashley Wright picked up her first win of the season with a solid performance against UConn. The lefty tossed a complete game two-hit shutout, walking just one batter and striking out three.
Winning Big: Illinois imposed the eight-run-rule on two of its opponents over the weekend, knocking off Florida International, 10-2, and UConn, 8-0. The 10 runs were the most this season for the Orange and Blue. Overall, the Illini have scored at least six runs in seven games this season while holding their opponents under six runs in 12 games.
The Scouting Report
Rutgers: Rutgers looks to improve after going 20-34 overall last season under first year head coach Jay Nelson. In 2007, they won seven Big East games which was the most since their eight Big East wins in 2004. Rutgers started the 2008 season last weekend, playing four games at the Virginia Tech Tournament. They started the tournament 0-2 with losses against Winthrop and Troy, but then rallied back and finished with consecutive wins over St. Joseph's and Robert Morris. Their team is made up of four seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore, and six freshman. Junior Kaitlyn Valiente and freshman Mickenzie Alden currently lead the team with .500 batting for the season. Pitcher Katye Hamlin starts the season with a 2.90 ERA and went 1-1 in the Virginia Tech Tournament.
Central Michigan: Central Michigan looks to have a competitive season with 10 returning letter-winners, including seven starters. For the past two seasons, the Chippewas have finished second in the Mid-American Conference West Division. Amy Hudson, a three time first-team All- Mid-American Conference pick, returns for her final season. Pitcher Ali Pettit also returns for her junior season, after finishing last season with a 17-7 record, 2.43 ERA and 120 strikeouts. So far, Central Michigan has been off to a positive start for the 2008 season. In their first tournament of the year at the Spartan Classic at North Carolina-Greensboro, the Chippewas racked up three wins and their sole loss came against Cleveland State.
Bethune-Cookman: With nine newcomers coming into the 2008 season, the Wildcats will have to look to their four returning starters for leadership. Those 4 four returning starters include seniors Holly Bussey, Christina Trimble, Brandi Holley, and sophomore Tameika Jones. The pitching staff is full of fresh faces, with two righties and a southpaw composing the all-freshman staff. Illinois defeated Bethune-Cookman, 9-1, in the opening weekend at the USF Wilson Tournament.
Florida Atlantic: The 2007 season was a successful one for Florida Atlantic, after winning both the regular season and post-season Sun Belt Conference titles, and finishing with a record of 42-23. The main disappointment of the season came when the Owls were left out of the NCAA tournament. The Owls have had a rough start, compiling a record of 6-10 after three tournaments. They finished the Palm Springs Classic Tournament last weekend with a record of 2-5, but one of those wins came in a shut-out against No. 6-ranked LSU. Junior Beckie Brandies is the leading offensive returner after finishing 2007 with .276 batting, 48 hits, four homeruns, and 21 RBIs. For pitching, the Owls have sophomore Amber Bartman who has a 3.22 ERA in 76 innings this season with a 4-5 record, freshman Rose Gressley who has started the season with a 2.49 ERA and 2-4 record, and junior Vanessa Suarez who has made one appearance this season.