Women to build off victories

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini play Bradley in a doubleheader today at Eichelberger Field at 4 p.m.

The Illini come into this game on a high after winning its first conference game of the year 8-7 against Ohio State on Sunday.

Junior centerfielder Rachelle Coriddi and junior first baseman Jenna Hall led the Illini offensively in that game going 3-for-4.

Hall delivered what would turn out to be the game-winning two-run double.

“Friday and Saturday were kind of rough,” Hall said. “I knew that I needed to step up, and I just tried to stay confident.”

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Bradley’s visit marks the third of six in-state teams the Illini will play this season.

So far, they are 4-1 against in-state teams, including sweeping a doubleheader against Loyola in the Illini’s home opener.

“We just try to play the best competition we can,” said Illini head coach Terri Sullivan. “Most of the teams have elite programs.”

Bradley comes into the game with a 12-25 record. In their most recent outing, they lost both games of a doubleheader to No.15 Northwestern 7-2 and 8-2.

Despite the record, Sullivan is not taking this team lightly.

“Last year we split at their place,” Sullivan said. “They have three players who hit the ball well.”

The Braves, like the Illini, are not having a good conference season. The Illini are 1-11 in conference and the Braves are 3-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference this year.

“They are in the same boat as us in the conference,” Sullivan said.

Bradley is led offensively by infielder Trisha Kowalewski who is second on the team in hits (30) and leads the team in home runs with six.

As a team, the Braves are only hitting .236 compared to their opponents who are hitting .286 against them.

Britany Dehler is the leader of the Bradley pitching staff with an 8-12 record and a 2.75 ERA in 142.2 innings.

A positive sign for the Illini is the hit production of Coriddi. The Illini lead-off hitter is second on the team in batting average at .319, but she leads the team in hits with 44 and runs scored with 30.

Hall still leads the team in average with .333 and is tied for the lead in home runs with six and RBI’s with 30. She has more than doubled her walk total from last year with 25 this year, compared to 11 from last year.

Freshman Claire DeVreese has been picking up the workload for the Ilini pitching staff and is up to 102 innings pitched this year.

Sophomore Mary Miller continues to lead the staff in wins with 12 and innings pitched with 137.

Sullivan wants her team to continue the momentum gained from the game against Ohio State.

“We want to force (Bradley) to make plays,” Sullivan said. “I want the pitchers to throw strikes and for us to play fundamentally sound defense with better on-field communication.”