Illini softball loses to Gators, looks to gain win in a rematch Sunday

In their second day of play at the Cox Communications Invitational on Saturday, the Illini softball team took the University of Southern Florida Bulls 6-0, grabbing their first shut out of the season.

Keeping the bulls from scoring, Illini pitcher Monica Perry (8-4) won her fifth successive game against USF (6-0).

Putting the Illini to an early lead, once again second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz led off with a double and crossed plate on a wild pitch. The score stayed 1-0 until the fifth inning when pinch hitter Audrey Gallien walked on one out, and Zymkowitz reached on an error, making first and second base occupied. Bringing in both Zymkowitz and Gallien, right-fielder Hope Howell crushed a triple to right-center. Following her, left fielder Hollie Pinchback doubled, giving the Illini a 4-0 lead. Later on in the seventh, Pinchback ripped another double to left-center, tacking on two runs for the Illini.

In game two, the No. 2 ranked University of Florida Gators got off to a good start, leaving the Illini to trail 5-0 by the third inning. In the top of the fourth, relief pitcher Ashley Wright kept the Gators from scoring. To finish the inning, the Illini strung together two hits, allowing Howell to score on first baseman Meredith Hackett’s single to right field.

In the sixth inning, the Gators managed to cross plate four more times, capturing the 9-1 win.

The Illini hope to defeat the Gators Sunday when they take them on in a rematch at 10:15 a.m.