FINAL 2007 ILLINOIS SOFTBALL NOTES
May 17, 2007
Season Highlights The Illini led the nation in home runs per game (1.53) and ranked sixth in slugging percentage (.521)
National Home Run Leaders
Team G HR Avg. 1 Illinois 55 84 1.53 2 BYU 59 84 1.42 3 Illinois St. 58 82 1.41 4 Georgia Tech 67 94 1.40 5 Hawaii 57 79 1.39 6 Northwestern 56 76 1.36 7 Boston U. 48 65 1.35 8 Colorado St. 58 78 1.34 9 UTSA 58 74 1.28 10 Alabama 58 73 1.26 Illinois defeated No. 20 Louisville twice in the opening Diamond Fun & Sun Classic, defeating the Cardinals 6-2 and 8-0 in five innings.
The Illini took No. 4 Texas A&M down to the wire, leading 5-2 going into the bottom of the seventh. The Aggies used a walk-off grand slam to win, 7-5.
The Illini had a winning record in five of the six tournaments, going 3-2 in four and 5-0 in the other.
Illinois hit two grand slams in the same game for the first time in school history, as Kisten Martin and Shanna Diller each delivered four-run bombs in an 11-5 victory over Florida International.
Illinois won its first tournament since 2004, claiming the 15-team Capital Classic. In the tournament, Illinois out-scored its opponents 58-7 and hit 14 home runs
Illinois scored 16 runs in the first inning against Sacramento State on March 18. Angelena Mexicano had three hits in the inning, including two home runs. She had two home runs before their was an out. Illinois had 14 hits
Lana Armstrong had a school-record 18-game hitting streak
The Illini had back-to-back Big Ten Players of the Week in Angelena Mexicano (March 20) and Lana Armstrong (March 26).
Shanna Diller's two-run seventh-inning home completed a three-run inning and erased a 3-0 deficit vs. No. 8 Michigan. Sarah Byers' two-run blast in the eighth was the game winner in a 5-3 Illinois victory.
Illinois overcame a 5-1 deficit vs. Penn State to post a 7-5 victory on April 22.
Illinois broke individual single-season records for runs scored (Angelena Mexicano, 56), home runs (Shanna Diller, Angelena Mexicano, 16), and RBI (Lana Armstrong, 55).
Illinois provides dramatic comeback vs. No. 8 Michigan: Illinois players dug deep to pull out an improbable 5-3, 8-inning victory against No. 8 Michigan after trailing 3-0 going into the seventh.
Sarah Bryers started the inning with a walk. Hope Howell beat out an infield single and Bryers scored on a wild throw by the Michigan third baseman. One out later, junior third baseman Shanna Diller sat on the first pitch from Michigan ace Lorilyn Wilson and sent a shot to right center that just cleared the fence.
In the top of the eighth, Bryers stepped to the plate with two outs and Kisten Martin, who had led off the inning with a single, at first. Bryers took the first pitch and drilled it to right-center the game-winning home run.
Wild, Wild Nights: The Michigan game was just one in a series of impressive comebacks for Illinois. The Illini promise to provide as entertaining of a game as anyone. The Illini have made monster comebacks and played high-scoring marathons.
World's Largest Softball Tailgate IV a success
Illinois hosted the World's Largest Softball Tailgate on Saturday, April 28. The event was a huge success with the in-game crowd of 1,445. The event, which featured live music, entertainment, games for kids and a host of food started in 2004, the brainchild of Director of Athletic Development Shawn Wax and player Sarah Baumgartner. The idea was to have the atmosphere of a football tailgate in the spring time as a way to promote the softball team.
Here is a look at the year-by-year WLST crowds:
Year Opponent Official Crowd Illinois has had three of the top six crowds in Illinois history this season:
1. DePaul (4/28) 1,445DeVreese back on track: Last year Claire DeVreese was Illinois' workhorse for Illinois, throwing 231.1 of the team's 368 innings. Following off-season shoulder surgery, she has seen limited action until recently.
DeVreese made just her second start of the year vs. Bradley on May. 3, her first since Feb. 17 vs. No. 1 Tennessee. Against Bradley, she was dominant for seven innings in tossing a complete game two-hit shutout as the Illini prevailed 5-0.
From April 13 until May 3, DeVreese made 12 appearances and allowed just nine earned runs and 27 hits in 38 1/3 innings pitched for a 1.64 earned-run average in that stretch.
You've gotta have Hope: Another player which ended the year on a roll for Illinois has been freshman right fielder Hope Howell. The native of Lithonia, Ga., led Illinois with a .421 batting average in Big Ten play and had a .464 average in the final 13 conference games of the year.
All-Time NCAA Home Run Seasons Team Year Games HR 1. Arizona 2001 69 126 2. UTSA 2006 51 105 3. UTSA 2005 60 103 4. Michigan 2005 72 103 5. La.-Lafayette 2006 62 102 6. UTSA 2004 54 101 7. Arizona 1995 72 100 8. Jacksonville St. 2004 62 97 9. UCLA 1999 69 95 10. La.-Lafayette 2002 67 93 Arizona 1994 67 93 12. Georgia Tech 2007 63 91 13. La.-Lafayette 2004 68 88 UCLA 2003 61 88 15. Oklahoma 2000 74 85 16. Illinois 2007 54 84 Washington 2000 71 84 17. UMBC 2006 66 83 18. Missouri 2005 59 82 Illinois State 2007 57 82 20. W. Carolina 2006 61 81 La.-Lafayette 2005 61 81 21. Washington 2005 57 80 UTSA 2003 55 80 23. Arizona 1998 71 79 24.UCLA 2004 56 77Illinois had the seventh best single-season home runs per game average in NCAA history.
Team Year Games HR Per Game 1. UTSA 2006 51 105 2.06 2. UTSA 2004 54 101 1.87 3. Arizona 2001 69 126 1.83 4. UTSA 2005 60 103 1.72 5. La.-Lafayette 2006 62 102 1.65 6. Jacksonville St. 2004 62 97 1.56 7. Illinois 2007 55 84 1.53 8. UTSA 2003 55 80 1.45 9. UCLA 2003 61 88 1.44 10. Loyola (Calif.) 2004 46 66 1.43Big Ten All-Time Single-Season Home Run Leaders
21 Garland Cooper, 1B, NU, 2007 (52G)
16 Shanna Diller, 3B, ILL, 2007 (55 G)
Angelena Mexicano, SS, ILL, 2007 (55 G)
Kristine Himes, 3B/SS, OSU, 2002 (69G)
Emily Nichols, C/1B, IOWA, 2005 (64G)
15 Lana Armstrong, C, ILL, 2007 (55 G)
Stacy Roth, C, OSU, 2002 (67G)
Jordanne Nygren, 3B, MINN, 2003 (59G)
Jessica Merchant, SS, MICH, 2004 (62G)
14 Katie Mitchell, DP, PU, 2007 (48 G)
Tammy Williams, SS, NU, 2006 (65 G)
Shannon Beeler, SS, MINN, 1998
Jordanne Nygren, 3B, MINN, 1999
Jordanne Nygren, 3B , MINN, 2000
Kristen Amegin, 3B/1B, NU, 2005 (60G)
13 Melissa Gentile, C, MICH, 1998
Shannon Beeler, SS, MINN, 1999
Stacey Phillips, 1B, MSU, 2000 (53G)
Marissa Young, P/1B, MICH, 2003 (56G)
Jenna Hall, 1B, ILL, 2006 (53 G)
Schedule is as easy as 1, 2, 3: At one time this season Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arizona State occupied the top three spots in the NFCA poll then later Tennesee, Arizona State and Oklahoma were in those slots. The Illini had all four on the schedule. As of this week, Illinois had six of the top 10 teams nationally in the final regular season NFCA poll.
Rank and File, Part II: Illinois had two good shots at No. 4 Texas A&M at the Aggie Invitational. On March 2, the Illini took a 2-1 lead on RBI doubles from Kisten Martin and Lana Armstrong. The Illini managed just one hit the rest of the way as A&M won, 6-2
Rank and file wrap-up: Illinois played 18 games against nine teams ranked in the final USA Today/NFCA poll -- No. 1 Tennessee (1 game), No. 3 Oklahoma (1), No. 6 Northwestern (2), No. 7 Texas A&M (2), No. 9 Arizona State (2), No. 10 Michigan (2), No. 14 DePaul (1), No. 22 Illinois State (3) No. 24 Southern Illinois (2), and No. 25 Ohio State (2)
Illinois celebrates season at On-Deck Circle Banquet:
The On-Deck Circle hosted its seventh annual softball banquet April 30 at the Hawthorne Suites in Champaign. The Illini honored those that have made the 2007 season so memorable. Several players garnered individual accolades as well.
Illinois claims Capital Classic title: Illinois claimed its first tournament title since 2004 with five convincing wins at the 15-team Capital Classic in Sacramento. Illinois out-scored its opponents 58-7 and won four of the five games by the run rule. The Illini won the LSU Tiger Classic and Texas A&M Aggie Invite in `04.
Sweet 16: Illinois posted an incredible first inning defeating Sacramento State, 18-3, on March 18. The Illini scored 16 runs in the first inning and had 10 runs on the board before the first out was recorded. In that inning Illinois had 16 runs, 14 hits and three walks and sent 21 batters to the plate.
Mexicano named Big Ten Player of the Week: In that 16-run inning vs. Sac State, Angelena Mexicano had three hits in the first inning, including two home runs -- a solo shot to begin the inning, and a three-run shot. Sarah Bryers also homered in three-run inning.
Mexicano was named Big Ten Player of the Week on March 20. She batted .579 (11-for-19) with four doubles, four home runs and six RBI for a 1.421 slugging percentage.
Armstrong named Big Ten Player of the Week:
Illinois reaches 250: The 8-0 victory over Purdue marked the 250th victory in the history of the program. The Illini now have a 258-184-2 mark all-time under head coach Terri Sullivan.
Illinois offensive firepower evident at Capital:
Golden State circle: Illinois' 1-2 pitchers are both freshman lefties hailing from the state of California in Vicky Brown and Ashley Wright. The last time Illinois had two pitchers from the Golden State was 2004 when Amanda Fortune and Sherri Taylor helped the Illini to the Sweet 16.
Getting out of the gates: Angelena Mexicano hit a home run her first at-bat of the 2007 season and went 3-for-4 in a 6-2 season-opening victory over Louisville.
Vicky Brown meet Vicki Brown: Illinois currently has two players with the same name in different sports. Junior Vicki Brown was an honorable mention All-Big Ten middle blocker for the Illini in vollyball, while freshman Vicky Brown leads Illinois in wins with a 10-3 record in softball.
More on Armstrong: Lana Armstrong has been remarkably consistent this year.
Was 4-for-8 with four walks and a .667 on-base percentage in Miami
Orange and Blue Streak: Lana Armstrong set an Illinois record by hitting safely in 18 straight games from March 3-25.
Middle of order coming up (Arm) strong: Illinois had a lot of game experience in the top four spots in the order with third team All-Big Ten selections Molly Lawhead and Kisten Martin joining two of the top run producers in the conference in Shanna Diller and Angelena Mexicano.
The rest of the starting line-up had a combined 33 career hits. Ironically it's been two from that group that have been the major cogs at the plate for the Illini. Lana Armstrong led the team with a .367 batting average with 55 RBI and a .741 slugging percentage and ranked third in home runs (15). Makenzie Smith, meanwhile had a .301 average with 11 home runs and 45 RBI, Sydney Lisy, who had five total at bats last year, batted .286 with six homers, three doubles and 19 RBI.