Illini win home opener

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini ended their four game losing streak by sweeping a doubleheader against Loyola.

The Illini won the first game 8-0.

Sophomore pitcher mary Miller said she wanted to dominate the Ramblers and she did that by only allowing two hits in a complete game effort.

“We had two good pitching efforts today,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan.

The offense got started in the third inning when the Illini played small ball to score their lone run in the inning.

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Senior catcher Julie Balicki walked. Senior Elene Planinsek pinch ran for Balicki and stole second base. She advanced to third on a groundout by sophomore second baseman Molly Lawhead and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi.

The fourth inning would be a big inning for the Illini as they scored five runs. Lawhead hit a three-run home run to make the score 5-0.

“I think we have a lot of different weapons this year,” Sullivan said.

Illinois added another run in the inning thanks to a bunt single by senior leftfielder LeeAnn Butcher.

The Illini scored their final runs on bases loaded walks by freshmen pinch hitter Makenzie Smith and Balicki.

The Illini completed the doubleheader sweep in the second game by defeating the Ramb;ers 10-1 in five innings.

The game was a pitchers duel for four innings as Illini freshman pitcher Claire DeVreese and Loyola pitcher Mia Pangere did not allow a run.

“I thought I threw a lot harder than before,” DeVreese said.

The Illini had the best chance to score in the second inning, but despite having runners at first and third with one out, they were not able to push a run across.

The Ramblers scored first in the fifth inning when centerfielder Tara Miller stole home. Second baseman Lindsay O’Gean, who singled, stole second base, which allowed Miller to come home on the throw to second base.

The Illini responded wtih three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Coriddi hit an RBI double that scored Lawhead, who lead off the inning with a double.

Butcher fllowed that by hitting an RBI triple that scored Coriddi

The Illini executed the suicide squeeze for their third run of the inning, when freshman short-stop Angela Mexicano hit a bunt single for an RBI, despite the pitch being high and inside.

“She has great bat control,” Sullivan said.

In the next inning, freshman third baseman Shanna Diller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. This opened the gate to a seven-run inning by the Illini. The game was ended on a three run home run by sophomore catcher Brittany Koester.

DeVreese went all five innings allowing one run on five hits. She also struck out eight in her effort.

“She threw the ball as hard as I know she can. If she uses her strength she’ll be a dominant pitcher,” Sullivan said.