Saturday's UI roundup: Illini softball splits road doubleheader

Saturday's UI roundup: Illini softball splits road doubleheader

IOWA CITY, Iowa. — A comeback was required for the Illinois softball team to leave Bob Pearl Softball Complex with a series victory.

The Illini rallied from a five-run deficit in the first of Saturday's two games, earning a 12-11 victory and ultimately split their doubleheader with Iowa after the Hawkeyes won 4-3 in eight innings in the nightcap.

Thanks to a run-rule win on Friday, Illinois (26-14, 6-6 Big Ten) was able to secure its second conference series win of the season.

"Winning the series is great, but we had a chance to come away with a sweep," head coach Tyra Perry said. "We played good softball, but did not end with our best efforts in game three."

Redshirt senior Carly Thomas and sophomore Bella Loya continued to deliver at the plate for the Illini. Thomas posted a 4-for-8 performance with a double and a home run as well as three runs, while Loya turned in a 3-for-6 performance with a homer and a run.

The Hawkeyes (16-21, 2-10) pulled ahead 7-2 in the second inning of the first game on Miranda Schulte's grand slam to center field.

Illinois still trailed 10-6 entering the sixth inning, but that changed quickly. A six-run sixth inning put the Illini ahead 12-10, and despite a solo homer from Donirae Mayhew in the seventh Illinois held on for a win.

In the second game, it was the Hawkeyes' turn for a comeback victory, as Iowa rallied for two runs in the seventh and won in walk-off fashion in the eighth.

Sydney Sickels (17-8) picked up the loss after allowing six hits and four runs — two earned —in seven-plus innings. The Illinois freshman struck out three and walked three.

In track and field

Seniors steal show. In their final showing at Illinois Track Stadium, more than a few Illini seniors had standout performances at Saturday's Illini Twilight.

Seniors Devin Quinn and Briana Driver each delivered event victories. Quinn claimed the 100-meter dash with a clocking of 10.38 seconds, while Driver took first place in the long jump competition with a leap of 5.86 meters (19 feet, 2 3 / 4 inches).

The Illini also swept the men's and women's 400 relays. The men's foursome of sophomore Jason Shannon, freshman Bret Dannis and seniors Joe Haight and Quinn won with a time of 40.34 seconds. On the women's side, the Illinois quartet of freshman Nya Carr and seniors Sade' Hargrove, Janile Rogers and Driver took first in 44.65 seconds.

Other first-place showings for the women included Amira Aduma (400 hurdles, 1 minute, 1.72 seconds), Jaden Jackson (400 hurdles, 53.82 seconds), Hargrove (200 dash, 24.32 seconds), Carr (100 dash, 11.89 seconds), Felicia Phillips (400 meter, 55.64 seconds).

For the men, Jacob LaRocca (pole vault, 5.10 meters), Haight (200 dash, season-best 21.16 seconds) and Dannis (110 hurdles, 14.44 seconds) were all event winners.

In women's golf

Illini paces field. Bing Singhsumalee found her name near the top of the leaderboard after the first 36 holes of the Lady Buckeye Invitational.

In her team's final regular-season event, the Illinois senior golfer fired rounds of 72 and 70 on Saturday to reach 2-under 142 for the tournament and second place alone. Singhsumalee is one shot back of leader Pilar Echeverria entering today's final round at Ohio State's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

The Illini are tied for fifth place as a team, joining Maryland and the University of Indianapolis at 16-over 592. Michigan State leads at 4-over par followed by Kent State (8-over 584), Michigan (15-over 591) and Ohio State (15-over 591).