Softball splits series with Blue Demons

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

It was a tale of two offenses as the Illini split a doubleheader with DePaul, winning the first game 7-6 and losing the second 5-1.

Illini head coach Terri Sullivan made a change in the lineup from last weekend, hitting senior left fielder LeeAnn Butcher in the ninth spot instead of her usual second spot behind junior left fielder Rachelle Coriddi.

“Sometimes you need to mix things up and make batters focus a little,” Sullivan said.

In the first game, DePaul scored first as sophomore shortstop Jessica Evans drove in senior right fielder Ashley Parker with a single.

The Illini had a chance to score in the bottom of the first, but they were stifled as sophomore second baseman Molly Lawhead was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice ground ball by freshman third baseman Shanna Diller.

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The Illini tied the game in the third as Diller hit a single to right field that scored Lawhead.

The Illini then took a 3-1 lead in the fourth as Butcher executed the suicide squeeze that scored senior catcher Julie Balicki. After that Coriddi hit an RBI single that scored junior right fielder Laura


DePaul responded with a two out rally in the fifth to take the lead 4-3.

The big hit was an RBI triple by Evans who had three RBIs in the game.

In the fifth the Illini tied the game as Balicki hit an RBI double that scored designated player junior Jackelyn Diekemper.

The big inning for the Illini was in the sixth as they took a 7-4 lead. Lawhead hit an RBI single to left to get the Illini to within two runs. Coriddi scored on an error and then Diekemper delivered an RBI ground out.

“Our hitting was balanced today,” Sullivan said.

DePaul rallied with two runs in the seventh, but freshman pitcher Claire DeVreese induced a pop-up to end the game.

In game two, the Illini came up against Blue Demons pitcher and ex-teammate Megan Huitink.

She pitched a complete game against the Illini, allowing one run and six hits.

“Megan did a solid job, and I’m glad to see that she is doing well,” Sullivan said.

Three of the hits came in the ninth inning as the Illini scored their lone run on an RBI groundout by sophomore pinch-hitter Kisten Martin.

“We were a little more aggressive in the seventh inning, but we need to be that way in the first inning,” Sullivan said.

DePaul scored its first two runs on an RBI single by freshman third baseman Mary Wilus. After a strikeout, Parker hit an RBI groundout.

Wilus would deliver some more offense for the Blue Demons in the fourth as she hit a two-run homer after a walk by senior designated player Jenny Doezie.

The Blue Demons added another run in the sixth on an RBI sacrifice fly by sophomore center fielder Linda Secka.

Diekemper took the loss for the Illini as she allowed five runs on five hits in five innings of work.

Despite the result, Sullivan was very pleased with the way Diekemper performed.

“She has the ability to throw good pitches and today she did that,” Sullivan said.