Saturday's UI roundup: Illini baseball secures Big Ten No. 3 seed

EAST LANSING, Mich. — With another Big Ten series win in the pocket, Illinois baseball finishes its regular season as the hottest team in the conference.

Winners of 14 of their last 18 games, the No. 23 Illini claimed their sixth straight series in league play behind a 5-3 win in Saturday's road finale at Michigan State.

Pinch-hit homer takes down Illini softball

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tyra Perry admitted after Friday's NCAA tournament opener that a few in-game jitters may have bothered freshman pitcher Sydney Sickels in the sixth inning of the Illinois softball team's 6-2 loss to Virginia Tech.

Asmussen | Lucky charms the envy of Illini's Edwards

LEXINGTON, Ky. — When she first arrives at John Cropp Stadium today, Illinois senior pitcher Taylor Edwards will go hunting.

Not for strikeouts or pop flies.

Greener than those. And harder to find.

She'll be looking for four-leaf clovers.

Asmussen | Eager Illini take Cinderella dreams into NCAA regional

Three berths in the last four NCAA tournaments. Three trips to Lexington. Ky.

Talk about your old Kentucky home.

The Illinois softball team doesn't need directions to the site of Friday's regional opener against Virginia Tech. John Cropp Stadium has become a home away from home for the Illini. Well, sort of.

Strong regular season earns Illini softball NCAA bid

CHAMPAIGN — Tyra Perry had a feeling after Friday's 1-0 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals that her Illinois softball team wasn't done playing this season.

She was right.

The Illini found out Sunday night it earned an at-large berth into the 64-team NCAA tournament field. Illinois (32-23) will open with Virginia Tech (45-9) in the Lexington (Ky.) Regional.

For Eichelbergers, game has deeper meaning than what transpires on the field

FISHER — Sydney Eichelberger is aware of the weight a name can carry.

The Eichelberger surname, for example, has been a staple of University of Illinois athletics since the turn of the century.

"I get questions all the time about it," Sydney said. "They say, 'Oh, you're an Eichelberger. Do you have anything to do with Illinois' field?'"

NCAA fate out of Illini softball's control

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Taylor Edwards' Illinois softball teammates gathered around the senior pitcher shortly after Friday afternoon's gut-wrenching 1-0 extra-inning loss to No. 21 Michigan in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Carly Thomas issued words of encouragement. Stephanie Abello patted Edwards on the back.

Whitman: All bets should be off on collegiate sports


SPRINGFIELD — Speaking to a House subcommittee Wednesday on behalf of 12 of the state’s 13 NCAA Division I schools — all except Chicago State — University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said he opposed any bill that would allow sports betting on collegiate athletics in Illinois.

Illini's NCAA hopes rest with Big Ten tourney showing

URBANA — Last year, Tyra Perry's Illinois softball team gathered to watch the NCAA selection show in its own locker room at Eichelberger Field.

Illini softball sweeps Purdue

URBANA — Sweeping the weekend series seemed a given goal for the Illinois softball team, considering numerous seniors would remember it as the final one of their regular-season careers on their home field.

But how the Illini finished off the Boilermakers in Sunday’s series finale at Eichelberger Field?

Now, that’s just having fun.