Ruggeri leads UI victory

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Paul Ruggeri won the all-around, parallel bars and high bar to lead top-ranked Illinois past No. 5 Penn State in men's gymnastics Saturday.

The Illini's 354.600-345.950 victory represented a season-high point total.

"We had a great finish and ended really strong," UI coach Justin Spring said. "I can't complain, we won a solid four of six events, but we'll take the next couple weeks to really hammer out some stuff on pommel horse and rings so that we're more consistent."

Ruggeri's score on parallel bars (15.550) was a career high and an Illinois school record under new scoring rules introduced in 2008. He also was second in floor exercise and third on vault.

Daniel Ribeiro won pommel horse with a season-high 15.800 and also finished first on vault, which he competed on for the first time in his college career.

"I was really impressed with Dan's performance tonight," Spring said. "He had been practicing vault on his own all season, so we threw him in there tonight and he stuck it."

In women's gymnastics:

Buckley powers victory. Allison Buckley won the all-around title, tying the fifth-best mark in school history, as Illinois beat host Minnesota 196.325-195.325.

Buckley scored a 9.825 or better on each event and finished at 39.400. She won vault with a 9.850.

Illinois' team score tied the fifth best in school history.

"We were on top of our game tonight," coach Bob Starkell said. "There really wasn't an event that we slacked on at all. They are all feeding off each other from one event to another, and their confidence is really improving."

Melissa Fernandez won bars, and Sarah Schmidt took the floor title.

"We had a lot of good energy with our start on bars and really stuck the landings," Starkell said. "It was really impressive, and then we vaulted well even if the score doesn't show it."

In softball:

Illini win pair. Monica Perry earned the shutout in Illinois' 5-0 victory against No. 17 Fresno State in the Stanford Nike Invitational on Saturday.

Audrey Gallien drove in a pair of runs. Perry fanned six.

Pepper Gay pitched a shutout in Illinois' 8-0 five-inning victory against UC Riverside. Kelley Wedel went 3 for 3 and Ashley Conrad slugged a three-run homer for the Illini (8-1).

In women's tennis:

Notre Dame stops Illini. Megan Fudge (No. 2) and Leigh Finnegan (No. 6) earned singles victories in Illinois' 5-2 loss at No. 17 Notre Dame.

In swimming & diving:

Ivarson ties record. Jen Ivarson tied the Illini record with a time of 2:02 in the prelims of the 200-yard butterfly at the Big Ten Championships in West Lafayette, Ind.

Ivarson later finished 20th in the event.

"It's bittersweet for Jen to tie it," UI coach Sue Novitsky said. "I know she wanted it for herself, but she's going to be able to get her name on the board and it's nothing to hang her head about. Going out with a lifetime-best time on the last day is great for her."

Illinois finished 11th.

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