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Illinois Softball splits at Red & Black Challenge

The Illini move to 10-11 on the year.

Libby Knight | Illinois Athletics

The tournament struggles continued for Illinois Softball as it went 2-2 this weekend in Louisville. After an altered schedule due to temperature concerns, the Illini played one game on both Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader on Sunday. The first two games were close wins, but they dropped both contests on Sunday.

The Illini (10-11) started off the weekend strong with an extra-inning win over the host Cardinals on Friday afternoon. Louisville scored on an Illinois past ball in the first inning to take an early lead. However, the Illini tied it up on two errors by the Cardinals in the fourth. With the game in extras, Bella Loya launched an RBI double that brought in Delaney Rummell to seal the 2-1 victory. Addy Jarvis spent all eight innings in the circle, allowing only six hits and striking out eight.

Saturday’s 3-1 win over Oakland was largely due to sophomore Sydney Sickels’ complete game pitching performance. She matched her own program record with 13 strikeouts, a feat she accomplished once earlier this season against NC State on Feb. 15. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Rummell’s hit with bases loaded crossed two Illini base runners. Rhein Trochim added another run in the sixth inning. Oakland’s lone run came on a solo home run in the seventh.

After losing to Illinois earlier in the weekend, Louisville wasted no time on Sunday. The Cardinals scored first with an RBI single and a two-run home run in the third inning. Rummell responded with a two-run home run of her own in the top of the fourth. The Illini tied things up with a triple from Kailee Powell. An error by Illinois resulted in the Louisville game-winning run scored in the bottom of the seventh. In the 4-3 loss, Sickels struck out 10, her fourth double-digit strikeout outing of the season.

Illinois finished the weekend with a six-inning 9-1 loss to Evansville. The Aces scored four in the third and two in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead. In the fifth inning, the Illini were able to get on the board with an RBI from Maddy Adams, who went 2-for-2. Evansville added three more runs in the sixth to secure the win. In 3.2 innings, Jarvis allowed six runs with only two of them earned.

Illinois will play Missouri in a neutral-site midweek matchup on Wednesday, Mar. 11. The first pitch will be at 5 p.m. CT at the Lou Brock Sports Complex on the Lindenwood University campus in St. Charles, Mo.