CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Despite tying Illinois in hits with five, the Fighting Leathernecks dropped a 5-1 contest to it's Big Ten opponent on Tuesday (April 17). With the loss, Western Illinois stands at 22-19 on the season.
The Leathernecks' starting pitcher Hailey Bickford started the game off with a single up the middle, and was moved into scoring position at second after a KC Dunne sacrifice bunt where she would remain as the inning ended with a flyout and strike out.
Megan Kelly shook up Fighting Illini starting pitcher Pepper Gay after her tenth double of the season, followed by Kelsey Michelini reaching on a walk and Briana Williams being hit by a pitch to load the bases for Western Illinois, but Gay could recover, ending the scoring threat with her third strikeout of the game.
Illinois would end the scoring drought in the bottom of the fourth. A walk followed by the first Fighting Illini hit of the ballgame put two on base for Jessica Perkins who picked up an RBI with a single to right. A wild pitch and a single up the middle plated two more runs to give the Fighting Illini a 3-0 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, an Emma Jarrell walk, Williams bunt single, and Bickford walk would load the bases for Jamie Goss. Goss then picked up her 33rd RBI of the season with a sacrifice hit to left, sending Jarrell home and cutting Western's deficit to 3-1.
The Fighting Illini got the run back in the bottom half of the inning when the leadoff batter drew a walk, stole second base and came home on a Jessica Davis double. Illinois would tack on one more insurance run in the sixth taking advantage of Leatherneck miscue, giving the game it's final score of 5-1.
Western Illinois is back on the diamond tomorrow (April 18) in a single game at No. 10 Missouri in Columbia, Mo. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.