The Illinois Fighting Illini were able to push their winning streak to nine games after they beat the Southern Illinois Salukis, 4-2, in extra innings on Wednesday.
Despite walking in a run in the first inning, Illinois led 2-1 after Jessica Davis stole home and Katie Repole drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the second.
However, Southern Illinois would tie the game in the second inning on a Kelsea Ashton RBI single.
From then on, the game would turn into a pitcher’s duel, but Illinois would break the scoreless streak in the top of the eighth.
Although the RBIs did not come until later in the inning, the two most important plate appearances came during the first two batters. The Illini had their first two batters reach after Davis was walked and Allie Bauch reached on an error.
After SIU replaced their starting pitcher, Davis scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Kylie Johnson. Then, Bauch scored on a sacrifice fly by Brittany Sanchez.
The winning pitcher for Illinois was Pepper Gay. Gay recorded her 11th win of the season as she pitched a complete game. During her eight innings of work, she gave up two runs on five hits and stuck out five batters. The only bad thing was the amount of walks she allowed (7) in the game.
The losing pitcher for Southern Illinois was Brittney Lang. Lang pitched seven innings and was pulled from the game two batters into the eighth inning. She was responsible for all four Illinois runs, but only had two earned runs on eight hits. Despite losing the game, Lang was able to strikeout six Illini batters.
After the game, head coach Terri Sullivan said:
This was a hard-fought extra-inning game against a tough SIU team. We continue to have people step up and do some key little things to help us win. Crash and Chez had critical sacrifice flies, and Jami made a tough play look easy to end the game. Kylie gave us a big bases-loaded RBI and JD got on base to get things going with smart at bats.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are now 20-25 overall and 9-11 in the Big Ten this season.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will play their next game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. They will play the Buckeyes on May 3rd, 4th, and 5th. This will be the last series of the season for the Fighting Illini.
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