Illini defeat Illinois State

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini softball team continued their stretch of 17 games in 17 days by defeating Illinois State 4-3, Tuesday.

The game in Normal marked the homecoming of freshman shortstop Shanna Diller.

With 20 family members in attendance, Diller hit a home run in the first inning as the Illini once again scored a run in the first inning.

The Illini would extend the lead to 4-0 by scoring three runs in the top of the fourth inning.

Junior third baseman Jenna Hall and junior utility player Jackelyn Diekemper got on base by hitting consecutive infield singles. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch, sophomore first baseman Kisten Martin hit a two-run triple to give the Illini a 3-0 lead. Senior catcher Juile Balicki followed that up with a RBI single that scored Martin. The Illini led 4-0 at that point.

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Sophomore Mary Miller started the game for the Illini, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning when she gave up a three-run home run to Lauren Bierwirth.

In the fifth inning, the Redbirds loaded the bases and Miller was replaced by freshman Claire DeVreese, who managed to get out of the jam without allowing a run.

“It was a timing thing. Illinois State is a very offensive team and we felt that the pitching change was a momentum changer,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan.

In the next inning, the Redbirds loaded the bases once again, but were unable to get the tying run across the plate.

“I was real happy with the way Claire pitched. She had a look in her eyes, and Julie Balicki did a great job of calling the game,” Sullivan said.

The Redbirds left a total of 10 runners on base.

“It’s always a great game with them (Illinois State),” Sullivan said.