Maestas earns rings title

Maestas earns rings title

LINCOLN, Neb. — Illinois gymnast C.J. Maestas won the rings title Friday night at the Big Ten Championships.

Maestas posted a 15.900, and Penn State’s Trevor Howard was second at 15.700.

The Illini finished fourth in the team standings at 435.350. Michigan won the team crown, totaling 448.200.

In softball:

Gophers win series opener. Jess Perkins homered, but the Illini lost 8-3 to Minnesota in their series opener Friday in St. Paul, Minn.

Perkins went 2 for 3 for Illinois, which received three hits from Alex Booker.

The 15th-ranked Gophers (25-4, 3-1 Big Ten) and Illini (16-11, 1-3) combined for six home runs at the University of St. Thomas’ turf field.

Illinois’ Ruby Rivera hit her Big Ten-leading 10th double of the season.

“We flat out got beat by the long ball (Friday),” UI coach Terri Sullivan said. “We all know there is no way to defend that.”

In men’s tennis:

Gosea, Childers key win. Farris Gosea, playing at No. 2 singles, posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory, leading the 10th-ranked Illini to a 4-3 road victory against 23rd-ranked Penn State.

Illinois started the match by claiming its sixth consecutive doubles point. Blake Bazarnik and Alex Jesse won their No. 3 match 8-3.

Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski, playing at No. 1 doubles, won their match 8-7.

With the match tied 3-3, Julian Childers delivered for the Illini.

Childers, who lost the first set, rallied to win 12 of the next 15 games. He posted  a 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 6 singles.

“Julian was incredibly calm playing most of his contest with the team match on the line,” Illini coach Brad Dancer said.

Jared Hiltzik returned to Illinois’ lineup, but he lost 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.

“Our guys fought hard at Penn State (on Friday),” Dancer said.