Softball goes winless this weekend

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Big Ten season didn’t get off to a good start for the Illini softball team, losing all four games played this weekend.

On Friday, the Illini got beat by Northwestern 10-0 as Wildcats’ pitcher Eileen Canney threw a perfect game.

“We faced a tough, quality pitcher,” said Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan.

The Wildcats did their offensive work in the second and fourth innings.

In the second inning they scored six unearned runs on only three hits. They were helped out by three Illinois errors in the inning.

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In the fourth inning the Wildcats scored four more runs as the Illini committed their fourth error of the game that lead to another unearned run.

“We really didn’t put ourselves in position to win,” Sullivan said.

Things did not get much better on Saturday as the Wildcats swept the two game series by defeating the Illini 4-1.

On the defensive side Illinois played much better, only committing one error in the game.

The Illini took a 1-0 lead when freshman shortstop Shanna Diller hit an RBI double to score junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi, who drew a leadoff walk.

After that the Illini were held hitless until the sixth inning when Coriddi singled to lead off the inning.

“Our pitch selection wasn’t good and they knew what they had to do to get our batters fishing at bad pitches,” Sullivan said.

By that time, the Wildcats had used a four-run fifth inning to seize control of the game.

The big hits in the inning were delivered by first baseman Garland Cooper and catcher Jaime Dotson as both hit RBI doubles in the inning to give Northwestern a 4-1 lead.

“We can’t let one inning beat us,” Sullivan said.

Wildcats starter Courtnay Foster pitched a complete game as she held the Illini to only three hits for the game. She also struck out 11.

Miller took the loss for the Illini and dropped to 10-7 on the season.

On Sunday, the Illini dropped both games against top-ranked Michigan.

In game one, Illinois scored first when Coriddi came in on an error by Michigan second baseman Tiffany Haas.

Haas would redeem herself in the bottom half of the first when she led off with a solo home run to tie the game at one-to-one. The Wolverines scored two more times in the first inning thanks to RBI singles by third baseman Grace Leutele and designated hitter Nicole Motycka.

The Illini came back to tie the game at three in the third inning when Coriddi scored on a throwing error by Michigan catcher Becky Marx. Then senior leftfielder LeeAnn Butcher scored on a wild pitch by pitcher Jennie Ritter.

The Wolverines responded with two runs in the bottom of the third and three runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-3 lead into the seventh inning.

The Illini then scored four runs in the seventh. Diller hit a three-run home run to bring them back within one, but junior first baseman Jenna Hall struck out to end the game.

“Honestly, I thought we played well in this game, but we gave them a little opening when we made a couple of mistakes,” Sullivan said.

In game two, the Illini lost 10-0 and only got one hit off Wolverines’ pitcher Lorilyn Wilson, a single by freshman shortstop Angelena Mexicano.

The Illini were already down 5-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Michigan scored five runs in the inning. The big hit came when first baseman Samantha Findlay hit a grand slam, which was her second home run of the day. She had 7 RBI’s on the day.

The Illini defense let them down again as they committed three more errors totaling nine on the weekend.

“We were beaten by two better teams this weekend. We have to start to get focused on Loyola (Wednesday),” Sullivan said.