Illini softball survives slugfest, defeats Penn State

Less than a week after head coach Terri Sullivan said she wanted to see more offensive performance and senior leadership from Katrina Ross, the designated player has stepped up her game.

It started in the sixth inning against Penn State on Saturday when Ross blasted her second homer of the season. On Sunday, Ross picked up right where she left off, hitting a grand slam in a 10-run fourth inning en route to an 18-15 Illinois victory against Penn State.

Less than a week after head coach Terri Sullivan said she wanted to see more offensive performance and senior leadership from Katrina Ross, the designated player has stepped up her game.

It started in the sixth inning against Penn State on Saturday when Ross blasted her second homer of the season. On Sunday, Ross picked up right where she left off, hitting a grand slam in a 10-run fourth inning en route to an 18-15 Illinois victory against Penn State.

Ross’ four RBIs were the game high for the Orange and Blue, but a trio of Illini drove in three runs each. Senior catcher Lana Armstrong hit a three-run blast in the third, and sophomores Danielle Zymkowitz (second baseman) and Hollie Pinchback (left fielder) also drove in three.

Illinois led 3-0 entering the third before the Nittany Lions (9-13) scored six times off freshman Monica Perry. But the Fighting Illini (16-7) scored five in the bottom of the inning to take an 8-6 lead.

The back-and-forth battle continued in the fourth as Penn State scored six in its half before the Illini tallied 10 runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good, eventually pulling off the 18-15 victory.

The Illini return to action Tuesday against Loyola at Eichelberger Field.