Welcome to “This Week in Illini Athletics,” a weekly review of the past week of Illini sports and a preview of the week to come.
BASEBALL (19-14 Overall, 10-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini went 4-0 against in-state rivals on their homestand this week, defeating Illinois State 11-9 on Tuesday and sweeping Northwestern over the weekend to launch themselves into second place in the Big Ten. Friday’s win over the Wildcats came in dramatic fashion, with Illinois giving up the lead in the top of the ninth inning but walking it off in the bottom half. Entering the final frame up 5-2, the Illini allowed a go-ahead grand slam that gave Northwestern the lead. However, in the bottom of the inning, three walks and a Northwestern throwing error tied the game for the Illini, and then junior third baseman Branden Comia slapped a single into center field, his fourth hit of the game, to give Illinois the win under the lights at Illinois Field.
This Week: Illinois takes a quick trip to Indiana State for a 5 p.m. matchup on Tuesday before returning home for a three-game set against Maryland over the weekend.
SOFTBALL (26-13 Overall, 9-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini extended their winning streak to 10 with a 5-0 win over Indiana State on Tuesday and a sweep at Rutgers over the weekend. Senior Sydney Sickels threw two complete-game shutouts, striking out 10 in seven innings on Tuesday against Indiana State and on Saturday at Rutgers. After the sweep, Illinois currently finds itself in third place in the Big Ten.
This Week: Illinois looks to keep the good times rolling in an action-packed six-game week, all at home. The Illini host Louisiana-Lafayette at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and #7 Northwestern for a double-header at the same time on Wednesday. Then, over the weekend, Iowa comes to town for a three-game series.
MEN’S GYMNASTICS (4-3 Overall, 2-2 Big Ten, 6th place NCAA)
Last Week: The Illini posted a score of 398.253 to take sixth place at the NCAA Championships in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday. Junior Ashton Anaya’s 14.300 earned All-American honors with a fourth place finish in the still rings. Joining him as an All-American was senior Hamish Carter, who placed sixth in the all-around with a score of 82.166. This concludes the Illini men’s gymnastics season.
WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS (4-3 Overall, 2-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: Juniors Mia Takekawa and Mia Townes competed in uneven bars and vault, respectively, at the NCAA Championships on Thursday in Fort Worth. Townes landed a Yurchenko 1.5 for a score of 9.8375 and fourteenth place in the vault, and Takekawa’s 9.8375 on the bars earned her twentieth in the country. This concludes the Illini women’s gymnastics season.
MEN’S TENNIS (10-13 Overall, 3-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: The battle of Illinois Big Ten teams went to the Illini on Saturday, as they defeated Northwestern 4-1 at Atkins Tennis Center. Sophomore Hunter Heck extended his singles winning streak to eight with a win over the Wildcats’ Steven Forman.
This Week: Illinois closes the regular season with home matches against Indiana on Friday afternoon at 3 and against Purdue on Sunday at noon.
WOMEN’S TENNIS (14-7 Overall, 7-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini won a 4-3 nailbiter over Northwestern on Sunday in their only match of the week. After losing the doubles point and splitting the first four singles matches, Illinois found itself at a 3-2 deficit with just freshmen Megan Heuser’s and Kasia Treiber’s singles matches remaining. Unfazed by the moment, the freshmen came in clutch, both winning their matches in three sets to secure the 4-3 rivalry win for the Illini.
This Week: Illinois travels to the Great Lake State for its final two Big Ten matches over the weekend, playing at #22 Michigan on Friday at 3 p.m. and Michigan State on Sunday morning at 10.
This Week: The 23rd-ranked Illini wrap up the regular season at Ohio State’s Robert Kepler Intercollegiate on Saturday and Sunday.
Last Week: At the Lady Buckeye Invitational over the weekend, #25 Illinois placed third out of 10, shooting (+49) in three rounds. Senior Crystal Wang led the Illini in the tournament, shooting six over par and earning a tie for fifth place.
This Week: The postseason has arrived for the Illini women as they head to Pittsburgh from Friday to Sunday for the Big Ten Championships.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Last Week: A weekend trip to California for the Illini men and women was highlighted by Tyler Sudduth’s shot put title at the Mt. SAC Relays. Sudduth, a junior, took the crown with a personal-best throw of 19.13 meters.
This Week: Illinois returns to Champaign for the Illini Invitational at Demirjian Park on Friday and Saturday, its final home meet of the season.