UI roundup: Illini top Pitt, fall to UNC

UI roundup: Illini top Pitt, fall to UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It took nine innings, but the Illinois softball team didn't that mind one bit.

After a rough opening weekend in which the Illini dropped four straight in Florida, Tyra Perry's team was happy to be back on the winning side of the ledger.

In game one of Friday's opening day of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Illinois got its wish as Alexis Carrillo delivered a game-tying home run to deep center field in the seventh inning, and the Illini eventually toppled Pittsburgh, 5-4, after nine frames.

In the late game, host North Carolina rode a four-run fifth inning to a 6-2 victory over the Illini, who are 2-5 on the season.

"We are a team that is steadily working to establish an identity," Perry said. "We are starting to see hard nosed play in spurts from several players but we still need to make improvements in all facets of the game to win consistently."

Men's tennis drops opener. Brad Dancer's Illinois men's tennis team will be well tested by the time Big Ten play rolls around next month.

Illinois' schedule has featured a who's who of opponents, after all.

Friday was no different, as the Illini matched wits with their sixth consecutive ranked foe.

Illinois tied its match against seventh-ranked UCLA twice, as Zeke Clark and Aron Hiltzik both won in singles, but the Bruins took the final two matches and claimed a 4-2 triumph over the Illini at Friday's opening round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

Clark won 6-2, 6-4 over Logan Staggs while Hiltzik emerged with a 6-3, 7-5 victory.

"UCLA played better than us today. Watching the match unfold, I knew there were a few things we could do to prepare better,Dancer said after his Illini dropped to 4-3. ... "We have enough good players to contend for this tournament, so this was a bitter pill to swallow no question."

UI outside top 10. Entering today's final day of the Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio, the Illinois women's swimming team is in 12th place.

A day after becoming the first Illini diver to score at the league championships since 2010, junior Ling Kuhn netted a 295.05 in the preliminary round of 3-meter diving. She eventually finished 15th place overall.