URBANA — Taylor Edwards didn’t need to overpower No. 23 Wisconsin when she took the circle Saturday for Illinois softball.
She simply had to record outs by any means necessary. And that’s exactly what the Arcola product did.
Edwards tossed 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball to lift the Illini to a 2-0 victory over the nationally-ranked Badgers at Eichelberger Field.
Edwards allowed just four hits while striking out two and enducing 10 groundball outs.
Sydney Sickels finalized Edwards’ second win of the campaign with her third save of the year.
Carly Thomas gave Illinois (19-7, 1-1 Big Ten) the only tally it’d need when she scored on a Haley Hestekin wild pitch in the first frame. The Illini’s other marker off Wisconsin (22-4, 1-1) also came after a Hestekin miscue, as she walked Kiana Sherlund with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Weber’s pitching shines. Ty Weber tossed eight scoreless innings Saturday to pace the Illini past Illinois State 4-2 at Illinois Field.
Weber ultimately allowed two ninth-inning tallies for the Illini (16-4), but Garrett Acton shut down the Redbirds (13-8) by striking out potential tying run Tyson Hays to record his eighth save and secure the win for Weber.
Illinois scored single runs in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings off Centennial product Jeff Lindgren and reliever Mitch Vogrin to give Weber, and later Acton, some cushion.
Cam McDonald drove in a pair of runs with RBI singles, and both Jeff Korte and Michael Massey doubled home runs.
Parker places fifth. A day after securing his second All-America honor, Emery Parker finished fifth at the NCAA championships in Pittsburgh on Saturday to cap his Illini grappling career.
Illinois’ redshirt-senior 184-pounder first dropped a consolation semifinal versus Ohio State’s Myles Martin, the bracket’s top seed, with Martin picking up a 5-2 decision victory.
But Parker bounced back in the fifth-place bout with North Carolina’s Chip Ness, winning via an 11-5 decision.
Against Ness, Parker scored a takedown and a four-point nearfall in the first period to establish an advantage he would not relinquish.
In men’s golf
Freshman fuels Illini. Adrien Dumont de Chassart roared across the UNC Finley Golf Course on Saturday, finishing a pair of rounds 7-under par to push Illinois into first place as a unit at the Tar Heel Collegiate.
Dumont de Chassart wound up 3 strokes clear of North Florida’s Phillip Knowles for the individual lead heading into today’s final round.
That effort is key to the Illini sitting atop the team leaderboard with a collective 2-under 574, 1 shot better than host North Carolina.
In track and field
Rustay shows way. Declan Rustay was involved in three victories for Illinois’ men Saturday at the Bill Cornell Spring Classic, hosted by Southern Illinois in Carbondale.
Rustay won the 100-meter dash in 10.78 seconds and took a leg in the Illini’s triumphant 400 and 1,600 relays.
Devin Quinn also was part of the 400 relay and won the 200 dash for Illinois, which received additional top showings from Jaden Jackson (400 hurdles) and Jacob LaRocca (pole vault).
In the same meet, the Illini women earned first-place efforts from Felicia Phillips (400 dash), Nicki Cast (1,500), their 1,600 relay and Kristin Slaughter (pole vault).
In women’s gymnastics
Otto leads pack. Mary Jane Otto secured the Big Ten women’s uneven bars championship Saturday, pushing Illinois to runner-up status in the 10-team field at State College, Pa.
Otto’s bars score of 9.975 was key to the Illini’s group total of 196.650, which put them behind only Michigan (197.400).
In women’s diving
Kuhn finishes career. Ling Kuhn dove to 18th place Saturday in the NCAA championships at Austin, Texas, to conclude her Illini tenure.
Kuhn scored 254.75 across five attempts while competing as the program’s first-ever diver on this stage.