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 (26-19 Overall, 12-6 Big Ten)
Last Week: Illinois went a perfect 4-0 in its non-conference homestand, defeating Indiana State 6-3 on Tuesday and sweeping Miami (OH) over the weekend. Two Illini combined to shutout the RedHawks on Saturday, with sophomore Cole Kirschsieper (6-2) throwing seven strong innings and junior Ty Rybarczyk shutting the door out of the ‘pen for his third save of the year.
This Week: The final home weekend of the season sees Illinois host Nebraska for a three-game set from Friday to Sunday.
SOFTBALL (34-19 Overall, 15-7 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini closed out the regular season with a split of their four game homestand, dominating Western Illinois for an 8-0 win on Wednesday but taking just one of three over the weekend against Penn State. A pair of freshmen stole the show on Wednesday; right-hander Lauren Wiles tossed a five-inning shutout in the win over the Leathernecks, and Paige Berkemeyer came up with a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the fifth for the run-rule walk-off.
This Week: It’s Big Ten Tournament week at Michigan State, and Illinois secured the 3-seed to earn a bye. It will open its tournament in the quarterfinals against either #6 Ohio State or #11 Purdue at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Should the Illini keep winning, they would play in the championship at noon on Saturday.
This Week: Illinois is the 5-seed at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional from Monday to Wednesday. The top four teams at the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
This Week: The Illini kick off their postseason at the Big Ten Championships in Minnesota from Friday to Sunday.