Tate: Five new faces, five impact players for Groce

John Groce is putting his fingerprints squarely and firmly on the Illini basketball program.

With transfers Sam McLaurin and Rayvonte Rice already on the squad, the first-year UI coach added five high school seniors Wednesday. That’s seven players in an uncommonly active seven months.

These are his choices. Groce dropped two guards who had committed to Bruce Weber.

Roundup: Azie, Riley lead way

MADISON, Wis. — Andrew Riley has a chance to win more Big Ten track titles today. And he could get a push from his teammates.

In the 100, Riley qualified third with a time of 10.48 seconds. Two spots ahead of him stood Illini Stanley Azie, who clocked a 10.35.

Women's tennis ousted; women's golf in hunt

OXFORD, Miss. — The 18th-ranked Illini women's tennis team got off to a strong start Friday in its NCAA first-round matchup against Rice, winning the doubles point.

But Illinois couldn't sustain the momentum in singles, losing 4-3.

The Illini (18-8) took a 1-0 lead thanks to wins from the teams of Marisa Lambropoulos/Melissa Kopinski and Chelcie Abajian/Allison Falkin.

Gay wins softball award for second consecutive week

PARK RIDGE — For the second consecutive week, Illinois' Pepper Gay was named the Big Ten's softball Pitcher of the Week.

The junior fashioned a 1.46 ERA during the week and picked up three wins and a save for the Illini in a game against Southern Illinois and a three-game sweep of Penn State.

Gay didn't allow more than two runs in any contest and struck out 21 in 24 innings.

Engaging finish for Illini softball

URBANA — Think what you will of a group of 16 girls, young adults who enjoy spending their idle time in conversation.

Illinois Softball Kelley Wedel Proposal


Illinois third baseman Kelley Wedel accepts a marriage proposal by Matt Cervantes following her team's 3-2 win against  Penn State at Eichelberger Field in Urbana on Sunday, May 6, 2012. 

UI softball, Hall of Famer draw a crowd

URBANA — He looked like many of the fans at Saturday's University of Illinois softball games at Eichelberger Field, attired in an orange shirt and wearing white tennis shoes.

Billy Williams was not just another face in the crowd of 1,259. He was one the media sought out for interviews. He was one fans chatted with and asked for autographs or pictures.

Illinois 4 Penn State 2 Softball 2012

Illinois women take on Penn State at Eichelberger Field in Urbana on Saturday, May 5, 2012. 

New face has blast at game

URBANA — Ceremonial first pitchers are usually only in the limelight for their pregame toss.

Wednesday's selection for the University of Illinois' final midweek softball home game had the opportunity to pitch and catch.

LaKale Malone was sure-handed on the foul ball that bounced off the press box at Eichelberger Field to where she sat behind home plate.

Roundup: Milroy keys sweep

EVANSTON — Willie Argo scored on Brandon Hohl's eighth-inning sacrifice fly to break a 2-2 tie and give Illinois a 3-2 win against Northwestern in Big Ten baseball Sunday. Hohl was 2 for 3 with two RBI as the Illini completed the three-game sweep to move above .500 in conference play (8-7).