BOCA RATON, Fla. — Jess Perkins hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to break open a scoreless game, and the Illini went on to beat Hofstra 2-0 on Sunday.
Brandi Needham allowed four hits and walked one over eight stellar innings for the Illini, who picked up their first win of the weekend in four tries.
In their opener Sunday, the Illini lost 5-2 in eight innings to No. 14 South Alabama. Illinois (13-6) tied the game in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly from Katie Repole and an RBI single from K. Johnson.
But South Alabama answered with a big inning in the eighth, scoring three runs on two hits.
“Our win today was the biggest we have had all year, a true testament to the strong will of this team,” Illini coach Terri Sullivan said. “After an extra-inning loss to a talented and mature South Alabama team, we had a big challenge in facing Hofstra.”
Offense falters in loss. Starting pitcher Drasen Johnson allowed four hits and one run — on a two-out single in the eighth — but the Illini mustered only four hits in a 1-0 loss at Western Kentucky on Sunday.
Jason Goldstein was 2 for 4, and the Illini left six runners on base as they were swept by the Hilltoppers.
“Drasen gave us a great performance,” UI coach Dan Hartleb said. “He competed very well and deserved to win. From an offensive standpoint, we didn’t do a good job. We struck out too many times and didn’t swing at strikes.”
In men’s tennis:
Illini double fun. Farris Gosea, Tim Kopinski, Blake Bazarnik and Alex Jesse went 2-0 in singles as the Illini beat Purdue (5-2) and Detroit Mercy (7-0) on Sunday at Atkins Tennis Center. The sixth-ranked Illini won the doubles point in both matches.
In women’s tennis:
Illini fall. Alexis Casati and Jerricka Boone won singles matches, but the Illini dropped a 5-2 decision at Purdue.
Illinois, which lost to Northwestern 7-0 on Saturday, is 0-2 in the Big Ten.
“Obviously, this isn’t how we had hoped to start the Big Ten season,” Illini coach Michelle Dasso. “The only thing we can do now is reevaluate, work harder, and use this as motivation to reinvent ourselves for the second half of our season.”
Commitment honored. Illini commitment Jackie Quade was an elite honorable-mention selection for the PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79. The website on Saturday announced its list of the nation’s top sophomores during the 2013 season.
Quade is a 6-foot-2 middle blocker for Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll High School.
Projected as an outside hitter in college, Quade totaled 375 kills, 77 blocks, 138 digs and 36 service aces for the 28-8 Chargers last fall.