March 16, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - Loyola University Chicago (10-9) staged a furious rally in the top of the seventh inning and had the tying run at the plate, but Western Michigan (9-16) held on for an 8-6 victory this afternoon at a frigid Eichelberger Field on day two of pool play at the Fighting Illini Invitational.
A run-scoring double off the bat of Stephanie Gamboa and a RBI single by Diana Patterson in the bottom of the first inning gave Western Michigan a 2-0 lead, but Brie Pasquale's long homer to center to lead off the top of the second cut the Broncos' lead in half.
After the Broncos extended their lead to three with two more runs in the second, Annie Korth, who was making her first appearance in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, crushed a two-run home run off the flag pole just beyond the centerfield fence to get the Ramblers within a run at 4-3.
However, Western Michigan exploded for four more runs in the bottom of the third, three of them scoring after two outs, to blow the game open.
The score would stay that way until the seventh inning when Loyola nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages. Brooke Andresen and Korth led off with consecutive single before Lauren Moore walloped her sixth homer of the year, a long shot down the left field line to bring the Ramblers within two runs.
One out later, Pasquale walked then advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Broncos reliever Allyson Kus retired the next two hitters to help Western hang on for the win.
Korth and Pasquale tallied two hits apiece to lead the Loyola offense, which totaled eight hits off of three Broncos pitchers.
Due to cold temperatures, the remainder of the Fighting Illini Invitational was cancelled.
Loyola is scheduled to play its home opener on Wednesday, March 20, versus Purdue at 4 p.m.