May 5, 2010
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URBANA – IL – Illinois first baseman Meredith Hackett hit a walk-off, three-run home run to hand Iowa a heartbreaking 6-4 loss in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Eichelberger Field in Urbana. Iowa falls to 23-20 overall and 8-6 in Big Ten play. The 17th-ranked Fighting Illini improve to 38-5 overall and 11-2 in conference action.
Illinois took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Danielle Zymkowitz started the inning with a single and stole second base. She moved to third on a groundout and scored when Hollie Pinchback lifted a sacrifice fly to left field.
Iowa responded in the top of the fifth with four runs to take a 4-1 advantage. Junior Sarah Spiering drew a one out walk and was replaced at first by freshman Sam Valentine. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Liz Watkins and senior Lindsey Digmann loaded the bases and junior Chelsey Carmody cleared the bags with a double to right-center for a 3-1 score. Later in the inning, Carmody hustled to third on a wild pitch and scored on a perfectly-executed double steal attempt. Sophomore Katie Keim walked after Carmody’s double and attempted to steal second on the next pitch. Illinois catcher Audrey Gallien fired a throw towards second and Keim paused, forcing a rundown. During the pickle, Carmody sprinted home to plate Iowa’s fourth run of the frame.
Pinchback cut into Iowa’s lead in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff solo home run to center, but senior Amanda Zust recorded a strikeout and induced two groundouts to get out of the inning.
Illinois won the game in its last at-bat with the walk-off home run. Stephanie Cuevas was hit by the first pitch of the inning and a Zymkowitz single kept the inning alive. After an Iowa error allowed a run to score for a 4-3 score, Hackett hit the game-ending three-run homer.
Digmann and Leichsenring each had two hits to pace Iowa at the plate.
Zust took the tough loss, tossing her 17th complete game of the season. She allowed four earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts.