Softball wins first conference game

Illinois´ LeeAnn Butcher makes contact against Depaul at Eichelberger Field on Wednesday. Online Poster

Illinois´ LeeAnn Butcher makes contact against Depaul at Eichelberger Field on Wednesday. Online Poster

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini had to wait 11 games, but they finally won their first Big Ten contest, defeating Ohio State 8-7 yesterday in Columbus.

“I really didn’t know what to say (about the win),” said junior first baseman Jenna Hall.

The Buckeyes got on the board first, scoring twice in the second inning on an RBI single by pitcher Chelsea Baker. On a double steal, third baseman Billy Jo Carder stole home while Baker stole second.

The Illini responded with three runs in the bottom of the second. Junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi hit a two-run triple down the right-field line to score junior rightfielder Laura Zobrist and sophomore second baseman Molly Lawhead. Coriddi then scored on a single by senior leftfielder LeeAnn Butcher.

The Illini scored a run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Lawhead to score freshman third baseman Shanna Diller that gave the Illini a 4-2 lead.

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The Buckeyes responded with two runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at four. Carder hit an RBI single to right field. Later in the inning, Christina Douglas scored on a wild pitch by freshman Claire DeVreese.

The Illini regained the lead, 6-4, on a two-run single by Hall off of Baker. Hall then hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to give the Illini an 8-4 lead.

“I just felt really comfortable at the plate today,” Hall said.

The Buckeyes scored three runs to cut the Illini lead to 8-7, but sophomore Mary Miller struck out Douglas to end the game and pick up her first save of the season.

“Anyone involved wouldn’t have expected the game to end any other way, except with some drama at the end,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan.

Overall, the weekend did not get off to a good start.

On Friday, the Illini played Penn State and lost 4-1. Nittany Lions’ pitcher Missy Beseres only gave up five hits, two of them to senior catcher Julie Balicki who was 2-for-3 on the day. Beseres struck out nine in her complete game effort, which ran her record to 12-8 on the season.

“Beseres was throwing a really live ball, and we couldn’t put together consecutive hits,” Sullivan said.

Penn State scored a run in the first inning on a solo home run by leadoff hitter Jen Acunto.

They added another run in the second when third baseman Destinie Chavez hit an RBI single.

The Nittany Lions added two runs on only one hit in the third inning. Freshman shortstop Angelena Mexicano committed both errors in the inning, which allowed the Nittany Lions to extend their lead to 4-0 after three innings.

The Illini scored its lone run in the sixth inning when Diller hit an RBI single to score Lawhead.

On Saturday, the Illini lost 3-2 in a game that was decided on a play at the plate in the seventh inning.

Diller hit a single into right field and Butcher tried to score from second, but was thrown out by rightfielder Steph Viola to end the game.

“It was a really hard hit ball, and they made a great play and threw out one of our fastest runners,” Sullivan said.

The Nittany Lions got on the board first in the second inning when catcher Jen Reynolds scored on a double by second baseman Katie Stauffer.

They took a 2-0 lead in the next inning when Acunto tripled and then scored on a ground out by pitcher Ashley Esparza.

Penn State extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI sacrifice fly from catcher Hollee Haines that scored Viola.

The Illini responded with two runs in the fifth inning when Coriddi and Mexicano scored on an error by Acunto.

On Sunday, the Illini played a doubleheader against Ohio State and lost the first game 5-3 after having a 2-0 lead going into the fifth inning.

The Illini scored those two runs in the fourth inning when junior first baseman Jenna Hall hit a two-run home run to left center, after Coriddi led off the inning with a single.

“(Hall) is one of the best hitters I’ve been around,” Sullivan said.

They had a chance to score another run, but Diller was thrown out at the plate on a single by Zobrist.

The Buckeyes scored five runs in the fifth inning with two outs to take a 5-2 lead.

Left fielder Megan Schwab hit an RBI single to cut the Illini lead to 2-1.

DeVresse was replaced by Miller, who was greeted with an RBI single by designated player Ashley Cutcliff to tie the game at two.

Douglas hit a two-run single to give the Buckeyes a two-run lead. Carder finished off the inning with another RBI single that scored Douglas.

The Illini scored a consolation run in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Lawhead.

“Ohio State is a team of momentum, they beat us with one inning, and we have to work hard on not letting hits pile up,” Sullivan said.