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Illinois Softball struggles in weekend series against Minnesota

The Illini dropped three of four games against Northwestern and Minnesota, including being no-hit on Saturday.

Wednesday’s Doubleheader versus Northwestern:

Game 1: Northwestern 8, Illinois 7.

Northwestern struck early and often, going up 8-0 by the end of the fourth inning. But, the Illini didn’t quit, adding three home runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first was a three-run shot from Carly Thomas, followed by a pair of two-run homers from Veronica Ruelius and Alexis Carrillo.

Emily Oestreich (12-5) started the game, and took the loss following 2.2 innings of five hit and four ER work.

Game 2: Illinois 15, Northwestern 9.

Illinois bounced back in game two, winning its first game over Northwestern since the 2015 season.

Illinois jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first when Stephanie Abello launched her third home run of the season — a three-run shot — to put the Illini up 3-0. That lead would be short lived, and Northwestern jumped on Akilah Mouzon for seven runs in the top of the second inning. Carly Thomas responded in the bottom half of the frame by contributing her second three run home run of the day, and the Illini would not stop there.

The offense contributed nine more runs on the day, and Illinois walked away victorious.

Saturday’s Doubleheader versus Minnesota:

Game 1: Minnesota 6, Illinois 0.

There is not much to write home about this game, as Minnesota’s Amber Fiser kept Illinois hitless in the game.

Oestreich (12-6) threw 3.1 innings, allowing five hits and five earned runs and taking the loss.

Game 2: Minnesota 6, Illinois 0.

Once again, Minnesota prevailed 6-0 in game two. Illinois managed three hits in the second game of the double header, but that was not nearly enough to overcome a powerful showing by Minnesota’s pitching staff.

Taylor Edwards (6-6) threw all six innings, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs.

Sunday’s scheduled game against the Gophers was cancelled due to cold weather.

Looking Ahead

Following this week, Illinois holds a 3-4 Big Ten record, and has a 22-13 record overall. Coming up, Illinois visits Illinois State this Wednesday, and then welcomes Maryland for a three-game series this upcoming weekend.