Martinez pinned, falls in NCAA title match
ST. LOUIS — Isaiah Martinez wrestled the 100th match of his career Saturday night at Scottrade Center, donning his orange singlet reserved solely for national championships against Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph in the 165-pound title match.
But like just one other time in his Illinois career, Martinez found himself watching as Joseph’s hand was raised in victory. The Penn State redshirt freshman pinned Martinez 25 seconds into the third period, denying the Illini redshirt junior his third straight national championship.
Martinez led early, getting a takedown in the first period. Joseph started on top in the second period and took just more than a minute of riding time into the third with the match tied at 5. Joseph got an early escape in the third period and turned a takedown into a pin for the victory.
Two other Illinois wrestlers earned All-America honors Saturday in St. Louis. Zane Richards earned his second All-America honor, beating Lehigh’s Scott Parker in a 14-4 major decision in the seventh-place match at 133 pounds. Fellow senior Zac Brunson lost twice Saturday but claimed his first All-America honor by placing sixth at 174 pounds.
Illini earn split. Illinois started its Saturday in the Clearwater Spring Break Classic with a 6-2 loss to No. 4 Auburn, but rebounded with a 7-3 triumph in eight innings against South Florida at Tampa, Fla.
Stephanie Abello and Rowan McGuire each singled home a run in the only extra inning, with the Illini (15-8) scoring a third tally on an error.
Hosts fall short. Southern Illinois used a four-run seventh inning Saturday to collect an 8-5 win over host Illinois.
Jack Yalowitz clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Illini (5-10), one of his three hits on the day. Yalowitz also crossed home plate twice.
In women’s gymnastics
UI second at Big Tens. Mary Jane Horth was the uneven parallel bars champion, Lizzy LeDuc took a share of the balance beam title and Illinois collected second place as a team at the Big Ten Championships in Champaign.
Horth recorded a score of 9.925 on the bars to outlast Iowa’s Angel Metcalf by one-quarter of a point.
LeDuc tied with Iowa’s Mollie Drenth and Michigan’s Talia Chiarelli atop the balance beam leaderboard at 9.925.
The Wolverines placed first in the team chase with a 197.300 total to Illinois’ 196.875.
In men’s track and field
Illini win eight events. David Kendziera and Devin Quinn each won two individual events Saturday at the UNLV Invitational at Las Vegas to lead the Illini contingent.
Kendziera took the 110- and 400-meter hurdles titles (13.73 and 51.93 seconds), and Quinn was the champ in the 100 and 200 dashes (10.43 and 21.16).
Illinois also received wins from Kenneth Allen in the 400 (47.27), Jacob LaRocca in the pole vault (16 feet, 43/4 inches), Dylan Lafond in the 10,000 (31:38.29) and the 400 relay (39.68).
In women’s track and field
Blazek victorious. Audrey Blazek recorded a victory in the 10,000 meters Saturday for Illinois at the 49er Classic in Charlotte, N.C. She completed the race in 37 minutes, 13.59 seconds.
In men’s gymnastics
UI stumped. Illinois dropped a 433.700-417.050 decision to Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman, Okla.