WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – The Boilermaker softball team won its fifth straight Big Ten series, following Friday’s 11-0 win with a 1-0 victory over Illinois on Saturday. Sophomore Lilly Fecho struck out seven and allowed just three hits in the pitcher’s duel, while junior Ashley Burkhardt launched a second-inning home run that was the difference in the contest.
Fecho (18-10) tossed her 22nd complete game of the season and picked up her fourth straight win. Brandi Needham went the distance for Illinois, striking out two and scattering five hits.
Senior Tori Chiodo went 2-for-3 to lead the Boilermaker bats, while three others, including Burkhardt, also contributed offensively.
The Illini put their lead off aboard on an error in the first inning, but the Boilers erased the miscue with a snappy double play. Fecho ended the stanza with her first K.
Illinois tallied the game’s first hit with a one-out single in the second, but the batter was later caught stealing to end the inning.
The Boilers jumped ahead as Burkhardt launched a no-doubter deep over the right field wall to start the home half of the second. Senior Danielle Fletcher followed the long ball with a single, but the Illini turned a double play and got a ground out to prevent the Boilers from adding to the 1-0 lead.
Chiodo tapped her first hit of the game in the fourth, but a fielder’s choice play saw her out at second. Burkhardt, who reached on the play, swiped second to give Purdue a runner in scoring position, but a liner to the right fielder kept the Boilers from picking up an RBI.
After pitching over an error in the fourth, Fecho remained composed again in the fifth after Illinois registered a pair of singles to start the inning. A pop up and two strikeouts left the runners stranded.
Purdue put two aboard in the fifth as freshman Katy McJunkin lifted an infield single and sophomore Paris Andrew was hit by a pitch, but again the Illini held.
Chiodo sent a one-out single into the outfield in the sixth, but an Illinois double play brought the game to its final stanza.
Fecho capped the game with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out in the seventh.
The Boilermakers (24-20-1, 11-3 Big Ten), which are off to their program best Big Ten start, look to wrap up a series sweep as they face the Illini at noon Sunday. A live radio broadcast of the game will be available at purduesports.com.