The Fighting Illini wrapped up their last series of the regular season this weekend against Nebraska at home, winning two out of three games, to finish the regular season with a 36-17 record, and a 13-8 conference record. Here’s a recap of the weekend’s games:
Game 1: Illinois 5, Nebraska 4
Illinois won the first game of the series, in a back-and-forth game. While the Illini jumped out to a 3-1 lead after three innings, Nebraska scored three runs in the top of the sixth, giving them a one run lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Kiana Sherlund drove in the tying run and Maddi Doane put the game away in the seventh with a run-scoring single. Erin Walker picked up the win in relief, her first of the season.
Game 2: Illinois 6, Nebraska 2
The Illini jumped out to a quick lead on Saturday, and never looked back. The Illini were up 6-0 before Nebraska put up two runs in the top of the seventh. Leigh Farina had three hits in three at-bats with one RBI, and Sherlund also drove in two runs. Emily Oestreich pitched seven scoreless innngs to collect the win, moving her record on the season to 15-8.
Game 3: Nebraska 6, Illinois 3
Nebraska avoided the sweep on Sunday, thanks a four-run third inning. While Illinois led 2-0 after the first thanks to a Carly Thomas home run, the Nebraska bats came to life in the third, when Taylor Otte had a three RBI home run. Stephanie Abello answered with a home run of her own in the bottom of the third, but the Illini wouldn’t score again, and Nebraska added two more insurance runs in the seventh to put the game away.
Big Ten Tournament
Illinois finishes the season sixth in the Big Ten, earning them a first round game against Maryland. The Illini have clobbered the Terrapins in the three games between the two teams this season, winning those games by a combined 38-3 margin. If the Illini advance to the second round, they will take on 3 seed Indiana, who they did not face in the regular season. Whether or not Illinois will make the NCAA tournament is still a question, with them being the first team out, according to this article by College Sports Madness.