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LEESBURG, Fla. — Sydney Sickels put together a pair of complete-game pitching performances on Saturday for Illinois softball, guiding the Illini to 1-0 and 2-1 victories over Penn State.

Sickels took a perfect game into the seventh inning of Game 1 before allowing a leadoff single. That was the only knock she permitted, also striking out 10, and she was backed by a Shelby Stauffenberg RBI in the fourth.

After throwing just 72 pitches in the opener for Illinois (9-2, 9-2 Big Ten), Sickels returned to the circle for Game 2 and continued her mastery of the Nittany Lions (0-11, 0-11). Once more she allowed just one hit across seven innings and accumulated 10 strikeouts, with her allowed run an unearned one.

This time around, a Delaney Rummell two-out single in the sixth propelled the Illini, which added an RBI double from Bella Loya.

In women’s soccer

Murphy shines. Eileen Murphy scored a goal in the 49th minute to provide Illinois with all the offense it needed during a 1-0 shutout of Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

Sami Sample came up with eight saves for the Illini (3-2-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten) Aleah Treiterer assisted on Murphy’s goal.

In baseball

Offense keys wins. A six-run fifth inning proved critical for Illinois on Saturday evening during an 11-8 win over host Minnesota in the first game of a doubleheader.

Five different players recorded an RBI during that frame for the Illini, capped by a Danny Doligale run-scoring double. Cam McDonald finished with four hits, three runs scored and two RBI, while Taylor Jackson walked three times and scored a run.

Game 2, which finished after press time, went to Illinois by a 7-1 margin.

Ty Rybarczyk tossed seven innings of four-hit ball for the Illini (4-3, 4-3 Big Ten), allowing one run and striking out three. Jacob Campbell smacked a two-run homer for Illinois, and Jackson Raper added a solo shot.

In volleyball

Gophers earn sweep. No. 5 Minnesota took down Illinois in three sets on Saturday evening in Minneapolis, posting a 25-21, 25-23, 25-13 win.

Terry Raina’s 11 kills and 10 digs led Illinois (2-10, 2-10 Big Ten), which also received nine kills from Bruna Vrankovic and 26 assists and 11 digs from Diana Brown.

In women’s gymnastics

New record set. Illinois women’s gymnastics not only defeated Minnesota 197.575-196.850 on Saturday in Champaign, but the Illini (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) also established their best-ever dual score in the process.

The 197.575 eclipses the previous program best of 197.300 set in 2015. Illinois’ cumulative beam score of 49.525 on Saturday also is a new team record.

Mia Townes placed first in the vault at 9.925, and Amelia Knight won the uneven bars at 9.950.

In women’s tennisDuong sparks win. Illinois earned a 4-3 victory over Iowa on Saturday in Urbana.

Emilee Duong won the decisive point at No. 3 singles for the Illini (3-5, 3-5 Big Ten), joining singles triumphs from Kate Duong at No. 2, Ashley Yeah at No. 5 and Josie Frazier at No. 6.

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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