Illini softball swept in DePaul doubleheader

By Rich Mayor

After a hot streak of winning five of its last six contests, Illinois was cooled off Tuesday in Chicago.

The Illini (27-26, 6-8 Big Ten) were swept in a doubleheader by No. 20 DePaul (34-14, 9-5 Big East) at Cacciatore Stadium. The Blue Demons raised their record to 23-1 in games they score four or more runs.

In the first inning of game one, the Illini went blow for blow with the Blue Demons. Junior catcher Lana Armstrong cashed in a two-run triple in the top of the inning, which was answered by a two-run homer in the bottom half off the bat by DePaul pitcher Becca Heteniak.

The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the third, when the Blue Demons strung together four hits for three runs off Illinois pitcher Claire DeVreese to make the score 5-2. DePaul added a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to defeat the Illini 7-2.

“We got off to good starts in both games, which is what you want to do, and we were able to do that,” associate head coach Donna DiBiase said. “But we were never able to keep the momentum today. Every time we grabbed it, we weren’t able to keep it.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

In the back end of the doubleheader, the Blue Demons picked up right where they left off. They scored four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first, after an Angelena Mexicano long ball in the top of the inning. Illinois added another run on a Sarah Bryers RBI single in the second inning, and the score remained 4-2 until the top of the fifth, when Mexicano struck again.

The senior shortstop hit a solo shot, her nation-leading 20th of the year, adding another to her program record. The Illini then tied the game on a two-out single off the bat of sophomore Hope Howell.

“The intensity was there, and that was exactly what we were trying for all night,” Mexicano said about the rally in the fifth. “We fought really hard to tie it back up, but we weren’t able to hold the tie.”

The Blue Demons added another run in the bottom half of the fifth and three more in the sixth to take a well-contested 8-4 victory.

“We expect that from the team, to fight back and never give up, and we did exactly that,” DiBiase said. “We put ourselves in a position to tie the ball game, but we let the momentum go. And when we get the momentum, we need to be able to keep that momentum.”

The Illini will look to get back on track this weekend, traveling to the Hoosier State for games against Indiana and Purdue.