Hackett, softball outlast Badgers

MADISON, Wis. — Meredith Hackett had two hits and two RBI as the Illinois softball team held off Wisconsin 4-2 Saturday in eight innings.

The Illini (20-17, 7-4 Big Ten) scored three times in the eighth. Kelley Wedel added two hits and two RBI, and Danielle Zymkowitz added two hits.

Fernandez fifth on balance beam

CLEVELAND — Melissa Fernandez saved her best for her final routine as an Illini.

The Illinois senior scored a 9.8375 on a near-flawless routine on the balance beam to tie for fifth place at the NCAA Championships.

Jacobs keeps Illinois in striking distance

URBANA — Mason Jacobs held up well in miserable conditions Saturday. His Illinois teammates weren't too shabby, either.

Jacobs was one of three golfers to shoot par or better in the first round of the Illini Spring Classic, helping Mike Small's 10th-ranked team stay in contention. Rain and wind caused tournament officials to cut the event to 36 holes, with play resuming at 9 a.m. today at Stone Creek.

No. 2 Michigan, Illini set to tango

URBANA — History will be made this weekend at Eichelberger Field.

How the tale will conclude is what must be determined when the Illinois softball team hosts Michigan.

5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without:

A win this weekend against No. 2 Michigan — the Illini host the Wolverines on Saturday and Sunday — would rank as one of the most significant in Illinois softball history. Some others, courtesy beat writer Fred Kroner:

Zymkowitz sparkles in softball split

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Danielle Zymkowitz went 3 for 4 and drove in three runs to lead the Illinois softball team to a 9-3 win against Purdue in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader Wednesday. Ashley Conrad went 2 for 2 with two RBI for the Illini in support of pitcher Pepper Gay (13-9), who scattered six hits and struck out four.

The Illini lost the nightcap 11-6 despite three hits, a homer and three RBI from Meredith Hackett. Zymkowitz and Hollie Pinchback (RBI) each had two hits for Illinois (19-15, 6-2).

5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without

Davis powers sweep of Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jessica Davis smacked a pair of home runs — giving her four on the weekend — and Kelley Wedel also connected to give Illinois a 13-4 victory against Ohio State on Sunday.

Illinois broke open a tie game with nine runs in the sixth inning.

Arrow's pointing up for Scheelhaase & Co.

Those who doubted last September that Nathan Scheelhaase had the arm strength to be a quality quarterback are eating crow this spring.

Softball uses long ball in blowout

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jessica Davis belted a pair of home runs and Pepper Gay fired a two-hit shutout to lead the Illinois softball team to an 8-0, five-inning win against Ohio State on Saturday.