Fighting Illini go deep back-to-back twice in same inning, defeat Penn State

By Kate Munson

The Illini softball team kicked off its home schedule in explosive fashion Saturday, defeating conference foe Penn State, 7-3, in come-from-behind fashion.

The Illini softball team kicked off its home schedule in explosive fashion Saturday, defeating conference foe Penn State, 7-3, in come-from-behind fashion.

Penn State got on the board right away, scoring on an RBI double in the first. But the Illini returned the favor in the bottom of the inning on a double off the bat of senior catcher Lana Armstrong.

The Nittany Lions (9-12) scored two more runs off freshman Monica Perry to take a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning before Illinois (15-7) mounted five-homer, six-run comeback. The five homers in one inning are a school record.

With one away in the sixth, freshman first baseman Meredith Hackett belted her team-leading fifth homer of the season. Senior designated player Katrina Ross followed with her second long ball. One out later, sophomore shortstop Ashley Conrad got in on the action, blasting her first home run of the year.

The power didn’t end there, however, as sophomore second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz belted a two-run shot in the same inning and junior right fielder Hope Howell followed with a solo blast of her own.

Perry (11-5) went the distance for the Orange and Blue, surrendering three runs and six hits over seven innings of work.

Illinois and Penn State conclude the two-game series Sunday.