April 9, 2013
CHICAGO - Brie Pasquale went 2 for 4 with three RBI, but visiting Purdue (16-22) capitalized on four Loyola University Chicago (16-13) errors and hung on for a 7-4 victory at an unseasonably chilly Loyola Softball Park this afternoon. The loss halts the Ramblers' winning streak at four games, but despite the defeat, they have captured six of their last eight contests.
"Obviously, today wasn't one of our better days, but the good thing is we have an opportunity to come right back tomorrow at Northern Illinois and get this bad taste out of our mouths," Loyola head coach Missy Beseres said. "We have been playing much better lately, but today reminds us that we still have a lot of room for improvement."
After getting off to a promising start when Brooke Andresen and Jessica Balzano drew back-to-back walks on eight pitches, then moved up a base due to an illegal pitch, Loyola came up empty in the bottom of the first inning. Purdue rode that momentum of escaping trouble and took advantage of three Rambler errors in the top of the second inning by plating a pair of unearned runs to grab a 2-0 lead.
The Boilermakers padded their lead in the fifth inning when Ashley Burkhardt tripled home a run and Andie Varsho ripped a RBI double as part of a three-run frame that stretched their advantage to 5-0.
Loyola was able to coax four walks through the first four innings, but was held hitless until leftfielder Keali Engelkens led off the bottom of the fifth with a bunt single, but despite eventually putting runners at the corners with two outs, the Ramblers were unable to scratch out a run against reliever Lexy Moore.
In the sixth, the Ramblers finally broke through against Moore when Engelkens roped a single back up the middle, one of five hits in the inning, to score Pasquale, who had reached earlier on a single to center. Despite the onslaught of hits, Loyola was only able to manage the one run as it cut Purdue's lead to 5-1.
Purdue countered with a pair of critical insurance runs in the seventh thanks to Tori Chiodo's two-run double down the right field line, but Loyola mounted one final comeback in the bottom of the inning.
Consecutive singles by Andresen and pinch hitter Amanda Ciran preceded a pair of outs before Pasquale walloped a three-run homer over the fence in left center to bring the Ramblers within 7-4. However, Moore was able to induce a foul out to end the game as well as Loyola's winning streak.
Pasquale finished the day 2 for 4 with a home run, three RBI, and a pair of runs, as she moved within one roundtripper of tying Becky Marx's school record for a freshman (7). Meanwhile, Engelkens went 2 for 3, and Brittany Gardner struck out four while scattering eight hits in taking the loss.
Loyola is back in action tomorrow when it plays a doubleheader at Northern Illinois.