Hoosiers Down Illinois On Sara Olson's Walk-Off Grand Slam
April 25, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Freshman Sara Olson has been hitting the ball hard in recent games but has not had much to show for it. On Friday that all changed as the native of Orland Park, Ill., blasted a walk-off grand slam against the University of Illinois to give the Hoosiers a 6-3 win at the IU Softball Field. The home run was the first of her career and came two batters after her older sister, Anna, dropped a two-run single down the right field line to bring the Hoosiers to within a run.
"I wasn't trying to do that," the younger Olson said about her first career home run. "I was just trying to get a single or put the ball in play. But I'm glad I was able to help our team get this win."
Indiana starting pitcher Monica Wright (11-13) tossed her 14th complete game and was the benefactor of the late-inning rally. She allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and was able to work around five walks. She also did a tremendous job against the nation's leading home run hitter, Angelena Mexicano, who went 0-for-3 with a foul out and two ground outs after entering the game with 20 home runs. Claire DeVreese (19-18) suffered the loss for Illinois after cruising through the first six innings. Her final line showed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout.
The Hoosiers came to the plate in the seventh needing as many runs to tie the game as they had outs remaining, trailing 3-0. Brittany Devitt started the rally by reaching on an error by Mexicano at shortstop, as the ball went right between her legs. The first of three pinch hitters in the inning, Brittany Stein, stepped in next and grounded out to the pitcher but was able to advance Devitt to second. Pinch hitter Alyssa Maiese then hit the first pitch she saw right back up the middle for a single to put runners at the corners for the top of the lineup.
Jennilee Huddleston did what any good leadoff batter does and drew a walk to load the bases. Senior Anna Olson stepped in as the final pinch hitter of the evening and delivered with a clutch two-run single down the right field line that landed less than a foot inside the line and brought IU to within 3-2. Junior shortstop Emily Bergeson showed why she has the highest on-base percentage for the Hoosiers (.446) by coaxing her 30th walk of the season to load the bases for Sara Olson. Two pitches into the at bat, Olson was in an 0-2 hole but was unphased. She sent the next pitch over the 220 foot sign in center field on a line for her first career home run and the walk-off grand slam.
Illinois (27-27, 6-9 Big Ten) scored a pair of runs in the top of the second, the first coming on a solo home run by Lana Armstrong and the second on a fielding error by Wright that allowed a run to score. Hope Howell singled to right field in the top of the third with two outs to plate the third Illini run but Indiana stopped any further threat by throwing Sarah Bryers out at the plate on the play.
The Hoosiers and Illini will be back in action at the IU Softball Field on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
-- Sara Olson becomes the ninth different Hoosier to hit a home run this season.
-- Sara Olson doubled her season RBI total with the grand slam. She had driven in two with a double against Rutgers on March 14 and plated two more with a single against Ohio State on April 12.
-- Alyssa Maiese is now 3-for-5 in pinch-hitting duties this season with a double and an RBI.
-- This was the fourth time the Hoosiers have come from behind to win when trailing going to the seventh inning.
-- It is the second time this season the Hoosiers have won a game with a walk-off home run. Kari Bettenbrock laced a two-run shot against Tulsa at the Campbell-Cartier Tournament in San Diego Classic on Feb. 17 to give IU its first win of the season.
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