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Illinois Softball: Illini split first two Big Ten series

Illinois has gone 6-4 in their last ten games, including two wins against a ranked Wisconsin team

@IlliniSB

After a hot start to the season, Illinois played just over .500 in the last two weeks. Now sitting at 22-9 with a 3-3 conference record, the Illini are positioned seventh in the Big Ten.

Nonconference Play

Illinois had four games against non-conference opponents, taking down IUPUI in a single game, 9-4, and splitting a series with Indiana State in two games which widely varied, as Illinois lost 4-9 in the first game and won the second, 7-4. Illinois then played Eastern Illinois, who they defeated 8-7 in extra innings.

Wisconsin Series

Illinois had three home games against the then-No. 23 Badgers, and pulled out two wins after losing the first game. Wisconsin clobbered Illinois in the first game, 15-6, but Illinois came back to even the series in the second as they shut out Wisconsin, 2-0, as the result of impressive pitching performances from senior Taylor Edwards and freshman Sydney Sickels.

The rubber match of the series was an exciting one as Wisconsin still held a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the final inning, and Illinois had two outs. The Illini were able to string together a great set of at-bats however (three hits with a walk), scoring three runs to walkoff the game, 6-5.

Nebraska Series

Illinois hit the road for their first away Big Ten series, facing the now 12-19 Huskers. Nebraska opened up the road trip with a close victory in the first game, 3-2. Illinois came back in the second game however, jumping out to an 8-3 lead early on before allowing Nebraska to come back and force extra innings. Illinois would put it away in the eighth though, scoring three runs to win the game, 11-8.

In the final matchup between these two teams, the Illini would lose 4-5, on a walkoff hit by Nebraska. Illinois was able to jump out to an early lead, but the game was tied at 4 in the bottom of the seventh, when Nebraska was able to get a baserunner via the walk, and score them with a walk-off single.

Quick Hits

Pitching

Sydney Sickels (FR), 14-4, 2.94 ERA, 95.1 IP

Emily Oesterich (SR), 5-2, 4.57 ERA, 49.0 IP

Taylor Edwards (SR), 2-3, 3.78 ERA, 37.0 IP

Hitting

Annie Fleming (R-SR), .410/.488/.590, 43 H, 20 RBI, 5 HR

Bella Loya (SO), .406/.448/.821, 43 H, 38 RBI, 11 HR

Kiana Sherlund (SR), .380/.447/.556, 41 H, 10 RBI, 1 HR

Carly Thomas (R-SR), .376/.456/.651, 41 H, 21 RBI, 4 HR

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