Balthazor finishes 13th overall

Balthazor finishes 13th overall

ST. LOUIS — A 13th-place finish in the all-around competition wasn't what she wanted.

But, Rae Balthazor still left Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis with something to smile about.

Balthazor's 9.900 during Friday's floor exercises at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships was the eighth-best mark overall and earned the Illinois sophomore second-team All-America honors.

Balthazor was just the seventh Illini to win NCAA All-America honors and the first since Giana O'Connor in 2015.

In the other three disciplines, Balthazor hit a 9.725 on vault, 9.825 on bars and finished the competition with a 9.825 on beam. Balthazor's all-around total was 39.325. 

In baseball

Wong stymies UI. Bren Spillane landed the first punch on Friday.

But, Grand Canyon ace Jake Wong didn't flinch — and ultimately got the better of Spillane and Illinois where it counted Friday, as the No. 44 college prospect according to lived up that billing, and stymied the Illini in the Antelopes' 5-1 victory at Illinois Field.

Spillane sent his 15th homer of the season 408 feet to left field for Illinois' first hit of the game against Wong with two outs in the fifth.

GCU (21-16) rallied, however, for two runs in the sixth and never looked back.

Wong, who lowered his ERA to 2.16, lasted six innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out three. The Illini (23-10) finished with only three hits for the game.

In softball

Edwards twirls gem. Taylor Edwards reinforced her claim as Illinois' ace on Friday.

With the Illini currently on the NCAA Tournament bubble — Tyra Perry's program has gone dancing the past two seasons — Edwards, an Arcola product, allowed only two hits and a run across six innings during Illinois' 7-1 series-opening victory over Iowa at Eichelberger Field on Friday.

Bella Loya notched three RBI to support Edwards' cause.

The Illini (28-15, 7-6 Big Ten) also received RBI doubles from Carly Thomas and Rowan McGuire.

In men's tennis

Brown, Clark keep winning. Conceding the doubles point to Wisconsin didn't matter.

Illinois has been a dominant singles team all year, which continued Friday afternoon at Atkins Tennis Center, with the Illini notching five singles wins en route to a 5-2 triumph over the Badgers.

Zeke Clark got Illinois (18-6, 9-1 Big Ten) on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 win — his eighth straight singles victory — and Aleks Vukic followed with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph.

From there, Alex Brown extended his singles winning streak to six matches, with a 7-6 (8), 6-3 triumph, and Aleks Kovacevic clinched the overall match with a 6-4, 7-5 win.

In women's golf

Illini currently fourth. Illinois has ground to make up in its quest to win three straight tournaments.

But, there are still 36 holes to go in the Big Ten Tournament in Maineville, Ohio.

Fresh off back-to-back team wins to close the regular season, the Illini fired an opening round score of 292 (4-over), which places them nine strokes back of tournament favorite Michigan State. Illinois is fourth place overall behind the Spartans (283), Maryland (288) and Ohio State (289).

Grace Park, who shared individual medalist honors in the Illini's previous tournament, carded a one-under-par 71. She's in fifth place alongside teammate Bing Singhsumalee at the three-day event, which concludes on Sunday.

In women's tennis

Buckeyes rally. Illinois surrendered not one — but two — leads, and suffered a 4-3 loss at Ohio State on Friday night.

The Illini (19-4, 8-3 Big Ten) claimed the doubles point, and Emilee Duong took the first singles match 6-1, 6-1. But, the Buckeyes rallied from both a 2-0 and 3-2 deficit. The match-deciding contest was at the No. 1 position, as Ohio State's Anna Sanford defeated Jaclyn Switkes 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 to claim the overall victory for the host Buckeyes.

In men's track and field

Wells jumps up board. Jonathan Wells leaped 25 feet, 10 1 / 4 inches in Friday's long jump finals at the Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, Calif.

The redshirt junior's mark not only won him the event but placed him 10th nationally and accounted for the third-best jump in program history.