WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – After giving up three early runs, the Boilermaker softball team rallied, but fell 3-2 to Illinois in the series finale on Sunday.
The Illini scored three runs on eight hits and two errors, while Purdue managed its two runs on six hits. Freshman Katy McJunkin went 2-for-3 to lead the Boilermaker bats.
Shelese Arnold (5-8) struck out just one in the complete-game victory for Illinois, while junior Lexy Moore (4-9) took the loss, striking out one in an inning an two thirds. Junior Alex Whittemore allowed just two hits in five and a third innings of relief work.
The Illini put up three runs on five hits in the second inning. All of the runs came in with two outs after a leadoff single, a fielder’s choice and a fly out. With two aboard after a single, Remeny Perez put Illinois on the board with a single up the middle. Another RBI single followed. A walk filled the bases, setting up a Kylie Johnson RBI single. Whittemore took over in the circle and forced a strikeout to end the inning.
The Boilermakers got one run by in the bottom of the inning as senior Lindsey Rains lifted a one-out home run over the wall in right center. McJunkin followed with a single, but was out on a fielder’s choice that put sophomore Paris Andrew on base. Sophomore Mary Gooding added a two-out single and the pair moved into scoring position with a double steal, but a ground ball to the shortstop kept the Boilers from adding another run.
A pair of fielding errors put two Illinois runners on in the third, but the Boilermaker defense held.
The Boilers paired two hits for a score in the third. Senior Andie Varsho led off with a bunt single and swiped second, setting up an RBI double to the wall by senior Tori Chiodo. Chiodo went to third on a ground out, but was left stranded.
McJunkin tallied her second hit in the fourth inning, a leadoff single, but a fielder’s choice and a double play kept the score at 3-2.
Neither team could manufacture an offensive threat in the last three innings. A sixth-inning single by Illinois marked the only base runner in the stanzas.
The Boilermakers (24-21-1, 11-4 Big Ten) return to action at 1 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to No. 3 Michigan in a doubleheader. The Wolverines currently own the Big Ten lead at 13-1, while the Boilers are tied for second with Minnesota at 11-4.