Illinois Softball played five games in the Judi Garman Classic over the weekend in Fullerton, Calif.. Three of the games were determined by one run. The Illini are 8-9 overall, despite a strong start to the season.
The first game of Thursday’s doubleheader only lasted five innings. Cal Poly scored six in the top of the first to open the game, but freshman Delaney Rummell and junior Bella Loya each had RBI singles to add two runs for Illinois. The Mustangs responded with four more runs in the third and an additional two in the fifth. Illinois combined for seven hits, however the Illini’s six errors hurt them in the 12-2 loss.
Illinois faced BYU later on Thursday. The offensive effort was led by sophomore Danielle Davis and freshman Kelly Ryono, who had back-to-back RBI doubles. All six of the Illini’s runs came in the fifth inning, when the offense exploded for a 6-3 lead. The cougars answered with a pair of runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, resulting in a 7-6 heartbreaker for the Illini. Sydney Sickels spent the entire game in the circle, giving up 11 hits and striking out five.
Addy Jarvis only allowed one hit and shut out Colorado State on Friday. She also struck out six in the complete game outing. Rhein Trochim and Avrey Steiner started the offense early. Loya had a solo home run in the third to extend the lead, and Rummell’s two-run home run sealed the 5-0 victory.
Friday’s second game was a close one, as Illinois fell 3-2 to Fresno State. Shelby Stauffenberg had a solo home run to start the scoring, but the Bulldogs responded with a two-run home run. Steiner scored on Rummell’s sacrifice fly in the fifth to tie the game at two, but in the sixth inning, an Illini error gave up the lead. Illinois’ three errors were the difference maker in this game, as both teams had six hits. Sickels only allowed two earned runs and struck out 10 in a complete game.
In the weekend finale, the Illini’s late comeback against Cal State forced extras. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second, with the Titans striking first, followed by another in the third. Illinois capitalized on a Cal State error in the fourth, scoring two to tie the game. The Titans added another run, but the Illini quickly responded as Steiner scored on another error. In extras, Cal State’s sacrifice bunt took the game. Starting pitcher Jarvis took the loss despite a strong outing, allowing only two unearned runs and striking out five in 5.1 innings.
The Illini are back in action next weekend as they travel to Louisville, Ky., to play in the Red and Black Challenge on Mar. 6-8. The team will play host University of Louisville twice, in addition to games against Oakland and Evansville.