Late Surge by Illini Stifles Lions
March 21, 2009
In the Big Ten opener, the Penn State softball team fell to Illinois, 7-3, in a wild game that included a triple play and multiple home runs. Penn State is now 9-12 (0-1) on the year while Illinois improves to 15-7 (1-0).
Penn State got started quickly as junior left fielder Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) powered her way to first on a bunt just beating the throw. Senior second baseman Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas) then fired a double to right center as Griffith crossed the plate for the first score of the game and the Nittany Lions' 2009 Big Ten campaign. Illinois answered as Danielle Zymkowitz was brought in by a Lana Armstrong double with two outs. The inning ended on a ground out to second.
The Lions kept it going in the second as sophomore shortstop Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) reached on a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.). With two outs, senior third baseman Shana Madura (Slate Hill, N.Y.) placed a double on the right field line as Giordano scored to make the score 2-1 in favor of Penn State.
Penn State widened its lead in the the fifth as Zielinski bombed a solo home run, her first of the season, over left field with two outs. The inning ended with a strike out.
The Illini loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with no outs after two base hits and a fielding error. Penn State difused the situation with an incredible triple play as Pinchback lined out to Giordano. Madura then took the ball and set her foot on the bag taking out the runner who left before the catch, and tagged out the runner attempting to advance from second.
The Illini were fired up in the sixth as Meredith Hackett and Katrina Ross hit back-to-back home runs with one out to tie the game at three. Kelley Wedel then grounded out to short and Illinois took the lead with another home run, this time by Ashley Conrad. Kimi Wong (Goleta, Calif.) then came in for relief, but the Illini kept pouring it on as Jamie Adishion hit a two run bomb over left field and Hope Howell followed with a home run over right field before a ground out to second ended the inning. But the damage was done as Illinois scored six runs on six hits bringing the score to 7-3.
The Lions got one more hit in the top of the seventh with two outs, but it wasn't enough as the last batter was retired and the Illini took the game.