Illini softball got off to a rough start, losing four of its first five games. However, this weekend they had a chance to redeem themselves at the Big Ten/ACC challenge, with four games — two against Pittsburgh and two against North Carolina.
Illinois split the games to end the weekend with a 2-2 tournament record, bringing its season record to 3-6.
Illinois 5, Pittsburgh 4
Emily Oestreich (1-2) started the game for the Illini, going 4 innings, allowing 3 hits and 3 earned runs. Taylor Edwards (1-2) came in and provided 5 IP in relief, allowing just 1 hit and 0 ER. Rowan McGuire provided a big boost on offense, going 3-4 with 2 RBI.
North Carolina 6, Illinois 2
Edwards (1-3), who was tagged with the loss, started the game and lasted 4.1 IP, allowing 7 hits and 6 ER. She was relieved by Erin Walker and Danielle Brochu to finish out the game. Overall, the Illini equalled UNC’s hit total with 9, but could not capitalize, as the offensive contributions were spread out.
Illinois 5, North Carolina 2
Oestreich (2-2) started the game, and pitched 6 innings of 8-hit ball, allowing 2 ER. Edwards came on in relief and earned her first save of the season. Alexis Carrillo went 3-4, scoring one run, while Kiana Sherlund and Leigh Farina each went 2-3.
Pittsburgh 9, Illinois 0
Illinois struggled on offense, managing just 5 hits all game. Edwards started the game, lasting just 1 IP, allowing 4 hits and 4 runs, with just 1 being earned. The Illini turned to Brochu and Akilah Mouzon for the rest of the game, but with their lackluster offense, they could not catch up.