Illini struggle in final tune-up

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

In their first game on Friday, the Illini played UNLV and lost 12-2. The Illini usually get the early runs, but this game was a different story.

The Rebels scored five runs on six hits off sophomore Mary Miller, who did not make it out of the first inning.

Freshman Claire DeVreese also had a tough time early in her appearance. After allowing another run in the first, the Rebels scored four times in the second to make the score 10-0 after two innings.

The Illini scored a run in the bottom of the third when sophomore catcher Brittany Koester, who reached on an error, scored on a wild pitch.

The Rebels came back in the top of the fourth and scored two runs thanks to a two-run home run by leftfielder Marissa Nichols who went 4-for-4 in the game with a home run and five RBI’s.

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The Illini scored their final run on an RBI groundout of junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi.

Illinois played its second game of the day against Hawaii and lost 7-2.

The Illini scored a run in the first inning when Coriddi scored on an RBI single by freshman third baseman Shanna Diller.

Hawaii responded with four runs in the bottom half of the first with DeVreese unable to record an out in the first inning before being replaced by Miller.

The Illini came back with a run in the second inning when sophomore rightfielder Molly Lawhead hit an RBI double that scored sophomore first baseman Kisten Martin, who reached on an error, to make the score 4-2 in favor of Hawaii.

Hawaii scored a run in the bottom of the third inning to restore its three-run lead.

The Illini had an opportunity to get the game within a run, but were unable to score when they had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth.

Hawaii added two more runs in the sixth inning to put the game away.

“Friday is one of the first times we struggled offensively. We got runners on, but we did not have quality at-bats,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan.

On Saturday, Miller responded from her rough Friday to give up three runs against No. 5 Stanford, but the Illini only scored once to lose 3-1.

“Mary pitched an outstanding game against Stanford. She threw well against a very offensive minded team,” Sullivan said.

Stanford’s three runs came in the first inning as Miller gave up an RBI walk for the first run. Stanford’s other two runs were driven in by pitcher Becky McCullough’s two-run single.

After the first inning, Miller only gave up two more hits the rest of the game and struck out 10.

McCullough shut down the Illini, only allowing one run on four hits, and she struck out 11. Illinois’ lone run came from a solo home run to centerfield by junior first baseman Jenna Hall.

“We had the momentum the entire game, but we didn’t get any hits,” Sullivan said.

The Illini’s second game went a lot better as they defeated St. Mary’s 4-1.

The Illini scored all four of their runs in the first inning. Diller drove in Coriddi with a ground out. After Hall drove in Butcher with a ground out, junior designated hitter Jackelyn Diekemper hit a two-run home run to give them a 4-0 lead.

The Gaels missed golden opportunities to score in the first and second innings but ended up leaving five runners on base.

“We let them get on base easy a few times with walks,” Sullivan said.

On Sunday, the Illini defeated No. 20 Northwestern 5-3 when Hall hit a two-run single in the seventh inning with two outs.

Before that, the Illini took a two-run lead in the second inning when designated hitter Elene Planinsek hit a two-run double that scored junior pinch runner Laura Zobrist and Diekemper.

The Wildcats responded with an RBI single by Katie Logan to make the score 2-1. They added two more runs in the sixth inning when Stephanie Churchwell hit a two-run home run.

Lawhead walked to begin the seventh inning, which was followed by a single by Coriddi. Butcher reached on one of three Northwestern errors. After Diller struck out, Jenna Hall delivered a big hit.

“It was nice to end on a solid game, but one game doesn’t have anything to do with the next,” Sullivan said.