Softball falls to Indiana, Purdue

Illinois third baseman Shanna Diller watches the foul ball fall from her glove during the second game of the double header against Purdue on Sunday. Illinois lost both games of the double header 9-1 and 8-7. Online Poster

Illinois third baseman Shanna Diller watches the foul ball fall from her glove during the second game of the double header against Purdue on Sunday. Illinois lost both games of the double header 9-1 and 8-7. Online Poster

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini are now 0-8 in the Big Ten after losing four more games, three by one run this weekend, at Eichelberger Field.

On Friday, the Illini lost to the Indiana Hoosiers 4-3.

The Hoosiers scored all four of their runs in the third inning. Two errors by the Illini contributed to the poor defensive inning as well.

The Hoosiers got the first two runners in the inning on base as errors by freshman shortstop Angelena Mexicano and senior catcher Julie Balicki.

Three of the four runs were unearned.

“We have to make the routine plays; you never want to make mistakes,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan.

The Illini came back to score two runs in the fourth, thanks to a two-run home run by junior first baseman Jenna Hall.

Freshman right fielder Makenzie Smith hit a home run in the next inning to draw the Illini within one run, but they were not able to push across another run.

“We didn’t hit well as a team,” Sullivan said.

On Saturday, the Illini lost another one-run game to Indiana 3-2.

The Hoosiers got on the board first when lead-off batter Denise Richards took the second pitch from freshman pitcher Claire DeVreese for a home run.

The Illini tied the game in the fourth when junior designated player Jackelyn Diekemper singled to drive in freshman third baseman Shanna Diller, who reached on an error to begin the inning.

The Hoosiers responded in the bottom of the fourth with two runs.

The Illini got to within a run in the fifth on an RBI groundout by senior leftfielder LeeAnn Butcher that scored junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi. Coriddi stole two bases in the inning to become the Illini’s all-time leader in career stolen bases with 57.

“I knew her speed was something special,” Sullivan said.

The Illini had opportunities to tie the game in the sixth and seventh innings but could not push a run across the plate.

“Our offense is not where it needs to be at this time of the year,” Sullivan said.

On Sunday, the Illini lost the first game of a doubleheader to Purdue 9-1 in five innings.

Boilermakers pitcher Brooke Baker held the Illini to one hit in the game.

They scored three runs in the second and six runs in the fourth to make the score 9-0 after the top of the fourth.

The Illini scored their lone run on an RBI ground out by Hall.

The Boilermakers fought off the Illini 8-7 to complete the sweep of the Illini.

The Boilermakers scored in the first inning on a bases loaded fielder’s choice when Mexicano threw to first base on a grounder after realizing she couldn’t get the runner at the plate.

The Illini responded with four runs in the fourth inning after two outs.

Balicki hit an RBI triple and was driven in by junior right fielder Laura Zobrist with an RBI single.

“Today, she (Zobrist) stepped up and did her part,” Sullivan said.

Sophomore second baseman Molly Lawhead hit an RBI double and Leigh Farina finished off the scoring, hitting an infield single that scored Lawhead from second base.

The Boilermakers responded in the bottom of the fourth with five runs to retake the lead 6-4.

Pinch hitter Kristen Schell hit a three-run home run to tie the game at four before an RBI double and a single gave them the lead.

The Illini tied the game in the fifth when Diller hit a two-run home run after Hall singled up the middle.

Purdue took the lead 7-6 in the fifth when DeVreese issued a bases loaded walk.

The Illini tied the game at seven when Hall led off the seventh inning with a home run to left field.

The Boilermakers won the game in the ninth when centerfielder Katie Absher executed the suicide squeeze by laying down a bunt for a single that scored designated player Catherine Zaworski.

“The only thing we didn’t do today was bunt well, and they did,” Sullivan said.