Diab three peats for Illini men's gymnastics

Diab three peats for Illini men's gymnastics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — To say Alex Diab crossed into familiar territory Saturday night would be an understatement.

The Illinois junior won his third consecutive Big Ten still rings title and tied the single-season school record with nine ring titles on the season. He sits third all-time in program history with 19 career titles on the event. Fellow Illini gymnast Bobby Baker was the runner-up in the event with a 14.350.

UI redshirt senior Chandler Eggleston was crowned champion on high bars, scoring a 14.250.

Illinois head coach Justin Spring was also named 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year, making it his fourth time receiving the honor in his career.

Balthazor bound for nationals

Sophomore Rae Balthazor has etched her place in Illini history.

Balthazor scored a 39.250 in the all-around Saturday night at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional and punched her ticket to the NCAA championships in St. Louis on April 20, making her the 13th Illini gymnast to qualify in the event.

As a whole, the Illinois women's gymnastics finished in third place behind Alabama and Georgia, just short of advancing to nationals.

Balthazor, an All-Big Ten first-team selection, also hit a career-high 9.850 on vault.

Softball clinches series

Behind Leigh Farina's strong at-bats, the Illinois softball team clinched its second Big Ten series of the season Saturday with a 7-1 win over Maryland at Eichelberger Field.

Farina went 3 for 3 with a triple, a double and team-high three RBI.

Taylor Edwards (8-6), an Arcola product, also turned in another strong performance from the circle, allowing just one unearned run on five hits and fanning two in six innings.

Illinois (24-13, 5-4 Big Ten) will look to complete the series sweep of Maryland (15-22, 5-3) at noon today.

Women's tennis swept

The 24th-ranked Michigan women's tennis team upset No. 11 Illinois in shut-out fashion Saturday, dealing the Illini a 4-0 loss. The Illini (16-3, 5-2 Big Ten), who saw their six-match winning streak snapped, will remain in Michigan for an 11 a.m. match today against Michigan State.

Men's tennis wins again

After dropping the doubles point, the No. 8 Illinois men's tennis team bounced back in singles to claim a 4-2 win Saturday over Michigan at Atkins Tennis Center.

Zeke Clark struck first for the Illini with a 6-1, 6-3 win, extending his singles winning streak to six matches. The Illini sealed the match with three straight singles victories, getting wins from Aleks Kovacevic, Aleks Vukic and Alex Brown.

The Illini (15-5, 6-0 Big Ten), whose winning streak is now at a season-best five matches, will host Michigan State at noon today.

UI wins nine titles

The Illinois men's and women's track and field teams combined for nine titles while the men's team placed second overall during the Jim Click Shootout at Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

Jonathan Wells won the long jump with a mark of 24-11.75 and the high jump in 7-0.75. He was joined by David Kendziera, who claimed the 110-meter hurdles in 13.52 seconds and 400 hurdles in 49.92 seconds. Devin Quinn was the champion in the 100 (10.21 seconds) and 200 (20.53). Denis O'Callaghan and Dan Lanthrop also took home titles in the 1,500 (three minutes, 50 seconds) and 3,000 (8:39.7), respectively.

Urbana native Nicole Choquette registered the lone women's title in the 800 with a 2:09.63.