Hawkeyes win softball series

Hawkeyes win softball series

URBANA — The Illinois softball team has work to do in the Big Ten race after dropping a conference-opening series to Iowa this weekend at Eichelberger Field.

The Illini lost two of three to the Hawkeyes, salvaging the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory in eight innings.

Iowa built a 10-4 lead in the opener and held on for a 10-7 victory.

“We didn’t play very well overall this weekend, but I think that last game in extra innings, being down again, shows our resiliency,” UI coach Terri Sullivan said.

In the nightcap, Jess Perkins belted an RBI double in the sixth to pull Illinois (15-9) into a 3-3 tie. In the eighth, Allie Bauch hit a one-out double and later scored on Alex Booker’s grounder to second base.

In baseball:

Illini sweep Xavier.
The Illini moved back to .500 by sweeping Xavier, 6-1 and 6-2, at Illinois Field behind quality starts by right-handers Ryan Castellanos and John Kravetz.

In the opener, Castellanos limited the Musketeers to one run on seven hits in 71/3 innings. Illinois then improved to 10-10 as Kravetz went eight innings in the nightcap, holding Xavier to two runs on seven hits.

The Illini starters and three relievers did not walk a batter in 18 innings.

Sophomore shortstop Adam Walton, batting ninth in the order for Illinois, went 5 for 5 with a pair of walks for the day. Right fielder Casey Fletcher, a junior college transfer, hit the first home run of his Illini career in the second game and finished the twin bill with three hits and two RBI.

In women’s gymnastics:

Illini fourth at Big Tens.
Illinois finished fourth in the eight-team Big Ten Championships at State College, Pa. The Illini’s highest individual placers tied for ninth — Amber See and Giana O’Connor in floor exercise, and Sunny Kato, Mary Jane Horth and Sarah Fiedler in uneven parallel bars.