Lions Drop 6-1 Decision to Illinois in Regular Season Finale
May 4, 2014
Seniors Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) also turned in hits with Presto notching her first double of the season and Sovereign adding a base hit while freshman Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) recorded Penn State’s only other hit.
The Fighting Illini offense turned in a powerful performance, tallying six extra-base hits on the day, including four doubles and two home runs. Brittany Sanchez and Jenna Mychko each went 2-for-3 at the plate with three doubles combined while Allie Bauch and Remeny Rivera provided the homers.
A leadoff solo shot from Rivera in the top of the second opened the scoring and sparked the Illini offense. Sanchez followed with a double to left center and Mychko added a single to center. Alyssa Gunther entered the pinch run for Mychko and stole second during the following at-bat. Sanchez attempted to head home as Gunther went to second but was caught stealing at the plate, giving Gunther time to move to third. Perez came up next and grounded out to second but it was enough to bring Gunther in, giving Illinois a 2-0 advantage.
The Fighting Illini added to their lead in the top of the sixth, scoring one run on two hits. Alex Booker punched a leadoff double to right field and was driven in by Sanchez, who sent another double to left center.
The Nittany Lions cut the deficit to two in the bottom half of the inning on Hatfield’s homer. The catcher stepped up to the plate with one out remaining and launched the ball over the center field wall, bringing the score to 3-1.
Illinois countered with a three-run effort in the top of the seventh, scoring all three runs on a Bauch home run. Jenna Perkins reached on a throwing error by Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) and Nicole Evans singled to left field to set the table for Bauch. The second basemen came up to the dish and shot a three-run blast to right center on the first pitch to clear the bases.
Sovereign added one more hit for the Nittany Lions in the final frame but it was not enough as Illinois took the win by a final of 6-1.
The Nittany Lions now await their first round opponent in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Thursday. The bracket will be announced on Sunday night.