COLUMBIA, Mo. – San Diego State cooled off Illinois' softball team, defeating the 21st-ranked Illini 5-3 on Sunday at Missouri's Children's Hospital Invitational to snap the squad's 10-game winning streak.
UI first baseman Meredith Hackett and third baseman Kelley Wedel each smacked home runs, but Illinois (16-2) could not overcome a five-run fifth inning by the Aztecs (15-8).
"Today was a tough loss," Illini associate head coach Donna DiBiase said. "We got runners on base but had strikeouts instead of moving the runners over. We didn't capitalize on our opportunities. That's something we stress to our hitters: If you do get an out, make sure it's a quality out."
Hackett gave the Illini a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, and Wedel hit a two-run home run in the sixth to close Illinois' deficit.
Left fielder Hope Howell went 2 for 3.
UI starter Monica Perry (8-2) struck out five and allowed one hit through four innings, but she ran into trouble in the fifth.
"Monica did a great job keeping them off balance through the first four innings, but they were able to adjust and string together four hits a row. Good hitting teams string hits together, and we didn't get that done today," DiBiase said.
Zerrusen sparkles as starter. Former closer Lee Zerrusen started and went seven strong innings, leading Illinois to a 10-3 victory against Ball State in its final game at the Caravelle Resort Classic in Conway, S.C.
Zerrusen was backed by three home runs. Left fielder Mike Giller was 2 for 4 with a homer and four RBI, and first baseman Matt Dittman went 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBI. Craig Lutes also homered for Illinois (3-7).
"We did the things that I think we're capable of doing," Illini coach Dan Hartleb said. "We were very good on the mound; both Lee Zerrusen and Bryan Roberts threw very well today. They had good location and command and threw multiple pitches for strikes. Offensively, we did what we had to do. Giller, Dittman and Lutes had the big home runs, and we ran the bases well today. I thought we played a complete game today for the first time."
Adams, Fisher don't qualify. UI freshman Tessa Adams and sophomore Britni Fisher did not qualify for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships next weekend after competing in the 1- and 3-meter dives at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships.
In the 1-meter dive Friday in West Lafayette, Ind., Fisher finished with a score of 177.35 and Adams recorded a 170.20.
In the 3-meter dive Saturday, Adams recorded a 208.20 and Fisher had a 164.90.