Softball Falls 12-2 at Illinois
April 3, 2011
URBANA, Ill. - The Nittany Lion softball team was unable to complete the sweep of Illinois, falling 12-2, on Sunday at windy Eichelberger Field. The Illini were keyed by five-run second and fourth innings.
With sustained winds exceeding 30 miles-per-hour and gusts nearing 50 mph, Illinois (16-13, 3-1 Big Ten) opened Sunday's game much like Saturday's with two runs in the bottom of the first. Meredith Hackett doubled home Danielle Zymkowitz from first base for a quick 1-0 lead. Following a one-out single, a line out by Kelli Wedel to right-field caught Jessica Davis out at first for a double play, but Hackett tagged up from third to score the second run.
Penn State (17-13, 3-1 Big Ten) fought back in the top of the second, capitalizing on a Zymkowitz error trying to force Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) at second base. The ball rolled to left field and Presto scored on the play while Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) attempted to snag third base, but was thrown out on the play.
The Illini broke open the game in the second inning with two outs as a walk and a single put runners on second and third base. Following a passed ball that made it 3-1, Zymkowitz singled home the fourth run of the game. After a walk, Hackett bruised the NIttany Lions again as she hit her sixth homer to straight away center field, a three-run hit, for a 7-1 lead after two innings.
Penn State tried to chip into the lead in the fourth inning when Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and Rossi walked. Following a pair of strikeouts, Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) tallied her second hit of the game and first RBI of the series with a single to left-center, bringing Hill home.
Illinois answered back in the bottom half of the fourth when Hollie Hinchback lifted her fourth homer of the season, a two-run opposite field shot, over the left-centerfield wall to extend the lead to 9-2. Illinois would tack on three more runs in the inning to open a 12-2 lead on a wild pitch and a two-run double by Danielle Vaji.
Penn State attempted a rally in the top of the fifth after a Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) walk and a Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) single put runners on first and second with no outs. Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) and Rachel Myers (Millheim, Pa.) both pinch ran, respectively before a fly out put Renwick on third. A weird end to the game happened when Presto popped up in the infield and the ball fell in a triangle of Illini fielders, Presto was safe on the play, but Myers was forced out at second and Renwick was thrown out at home trying to score.
The Nittany Lions continue a stretch of four-straight Big Ten games when it travels to Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. to face Michigan State on Wednesday. The doubleheader starts at 3:00 p.m. ET and will feature have live stats coverage through GameTracker as well as commentary and analysis on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball).