Freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett leads the team with seven home runs this season.
April 20, 2009
ILLINOIS AT EASTERN ILLINOIS
Tuesday, April 21 6 p.m.
Williams Field Charleston, Ill.
Gametracker available at fightingillini.com
ILLINOIS VS. #10/7 NORTHWESTERN
Saturday, April 25 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 26 2 p.m.
Eichelberger Field Urbana, Ill.
Gametracker available at fightingillini.com
Top of The Order
16-4 when scoring first
18-1 when leading after four innings
8-1 in one-run games
5-0 in extra-inning games
A New Strikeout Queen: Freshman Monica Perry broke the school's single-season strikeout record in a 3-2 win against Indiana. Perry ended the evening with 186 strikeouts on the season, topping the mark of 182 set by Amanda Fortune in 2004. What's even more impressive about the first-year player's performance is that she set the record in 100 less innings than Fortune. Perry is now just k's away from hitting the 200 mark.
More On Perry: Not only did Perry set the strikeout record against Indiana, but she had her best outing of the season in the doubleheader. She tossed a one-hitter in the first game and followed up with 12 strikeouts in the second game, one shy of the school's single-game record. Additionally, the McDonough, Ga., native is averaging 7.06 strikeouts per seven innings, on pace to break Sherri Taylor's record of 5.00 set in 2004.
Seniors Stepping Up: A pair of seniors stepped up last week to lead the Illini offensively. Catcher Lana Armstrong went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs in the first game against Indiana and scored the game-winning run in the finale. Designated player Katrina Ross led the Orange and Blue in the Michigan series, driving in a pair of runs in each game and going 3-for-6 on the day, including her fifth home run of the season. This Sunday against Northwestern, Ross and Armstrong, along with senior pitchers Brooke Buzard and Taylor Call, will be honored in their final game at Eichelberger Field.
Twin Killings: Last week Illinois went deep twice in two games, including back-to-back shots from first baseman Meredith Hackett and shortstop Ashley Conrad in the fourth inning against Indiana. Conrad also took a bases-loaded walk in the seventh to plate the game-winning run. Hackett added her team-leading seventh homer of the season in the second game against Michigan, while Ross belted the first pitch she saw in the sixth over the centerfield fence.
National Update: Illinois' offense consistently has been one of the best in the nation this year. As of last Tuesday, second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz ranks sixth nationally with 1.18 runs per game and 13th with a .444 batting average. Leftfielder Hollie Pinchback is 11th with 0.38 doubles per game. In addition, the team ranks in the top 50 in doubles per game, scoring, slugging percentage and batting average.
Topping the Big Ten: Illinois' offense is one of the tops among the Big Ten. The Illini have the third-best batting average at .291 and their .381 on-base percentage ranks second in all games, while they lead the conference with a .320 average in league-only games. Zymkowitz has been one of the most consistent hitters in the conference, leading the league with 54 hit and in second with 40 runs, a .412 average and tied for second with 18 stolen bases. In conference games, Zymkowitz's 19 hits lead the way, while Hope Howell's 14 runs are tied for second. Additionally, Pinchback ranks first with 13 doubles and is fourth in on-base percentage (.485).
Opponents at a Glance
Eastern Illinois: The Panthers have been streaky over the past two weeks, winning five in a row before dropping their last five. EIU is led by Kiley Holtz with a .321 average and 33 RBIs. In the circle, Amber May has carried the load with a 17-12 record and 1.72 ERA.
Northwestern: The Wildcats split last weekend at Purdue, having only dropped two Big Ten games this year. Tammy Williams leads the way for NU, batting .456 with 30 RBIs, while Adrienne Monka isn't far behind with a .404 average and team-leading 42 RBIs. Lauren Delaney has been the ace in the circle, going 25-8 with a 2.25 ERA.
Illini pitcher Monica Perry dominated the Indiana Hoosiers in a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday. She blanked the Hoosiers in game one and picked up the 5-0 win, while fanning 12 in the second game and earning the 3-2 victory.
Illinois stumbled against No. 8 Michigan, dropping both games of a doubleheader, 8-3 and 8-2. Designated player Katrina Ross had a big day, driving in four runs, but the Orange and Blue struggled to shut down the Wolverines' offense.