The Illinois Fighting Illini ended their regular season on a pretty decent note after they split a doubleheader with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.
Illinois came into Sunday’s doubleheader riding a ten game win streak and, even though the streak was snapped, the Illini finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark in their last twelve games.
Game one on Sunday featured a pitching duel between the two starters from Friday, Alex DiDomenico and Pepper Gay.
The Illini were able to come up with five hits in the ballgame, but it was the Buckeyes that scored all the runs with just a single hit.
In the top of the fourth, Ohio State was able to score all three of their runs without getting a hit and with two outs in the inning. The Buckeyes were able to score these runs off of throwing errors and good base running.
DiDomenico earned the win for the Buckeyes in game one after pitching a complete seven innings. She gave up only five hits and one walk in the game while striking out nine Illini players.
Pepper Gay earned a loss for the Illini in game one as she also threw a complete seven innings. She only gave up one hit, but also gave up three runs in that rocky fourth inning. She struck out five Buckeyes, but also walked five.
Game two was just as much of a pitcher’s duel as the first game, but the only difference was that the Illini got the win.
The game would be scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning. After having both Jessica Davis and Allie Bauch reach base to start the inning, Illinois would move both running on a Jenna Mychko sacrifice bunt and would then score the winning run on a Katie Repole single to left field.
After losing game one on Sunday, Pepper Gay would pitch another seven innings in game two. This time, she would earn the win by giving up only three hits and striking out four batters.
The losing pitcher for the Buckeyes was Melanie Nichols. She pitched a complete 6.1 innings and gave up only one run on six hits. It was only her second loss on the season.
After the doubleheader, head coach Terri Sullivan said:
We have a saying within our program that `Winners Win.” We did not have much going with our offense today, but in the second game, we found a way to get the one run Pepper needed. Winners Win even when they are not at their best.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are now 22-26 overall and 11-12 in the Big Ten this season.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will enter the Big Ten Conference Tournament as the sixth overall seed. Right now, it is projected that they will play the Penn State Nittany Lions on Thursday, May 9th at 4:30 p.m. (CST).
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