Hoosiers Edge Illini, 4-3
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Indiana softball team ended its four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday evening at Eichelberger. The win was the first Big Ten win of the season for IU as they improve to 11-25, 1-2 in the conference, while Illinois fell to 17-16, 0-5 in conference action.
Five Hoosiers totaled six hits in the contest, while two pitchers preserved the early advantage IU took with four runs in the third frame. Freshman Janetta Deaven led off the inning reaching on an error by Illinois's shortstop Angelena Mexicano. The next batter, sophomore Heather Hohs, attempted to move Deaven to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Illini catcher Julie Balicki's throw sailed into right field, as she attempted to get the put out at first, putting runners on the corners. Hohs would then steal second giving the Hoosiers two runners in scoring position with no outs.
Sophomore Kim Richards followed with a walk to load the bases for IU. Senior Ashley Griffiths plated the Hoosiers first run with an RBI single to left. Two batters later with the bases loaded and one out, a passed ball allowed Richards to score, giving Indiana a 2-0 lead. With runners on second and third, junior Lauren Hines cued an infield single to third, once again loading the bases for the Cream and Crimson. Freshman Anna Olson and sophomore Rachel Terry, 2-for-3 in the game, hit back-to-back RBI singles, putting Indiana ahead, 4-0.
Using the long ball, Illinois mounted a comeback with two runs in the fourth to cut the Indiana advantage to one, 4-3. In the fourth, Jenna Hall crushed a two-run home run to over the center-field fence. Makenzie Smith led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to left center.
Megan Roark (9-13) picked up the victory, her third career Big Ten win. She went four innings giving up three runs on three hits. She also struck out three and walked none. Junior Mariagee Bogado earned the save, the first of the year for the Hoosiers. She finished the game with three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, yielding just one base runner on a walk. She also punched out four batters.
Mary Miller (11-8) took the loss despite not allowing an earned run. She went 2 1/3 innings giving up four unearned runs on four hits. The southpaw walked one and struck out two. Claire DeVreese pitched the final 4 2/3 innings for Illinois, allowing no runs, on two hits, while fanning seven.
Indiana and Illinois conclude its two-game series with a noon contest tomorrow, April 9. IU will then head to Iowa City for a doubleheader against the No. 13 Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday.
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