The Illinois Fighting Illini won their first game of the USF Under Armor Invitational after losing their first two games to #19 Kentucky and South Florida.
On Saturday, the Fighting Illini played two games against the Maine Black Bears and the Toledo Rockets. They were able to pick up their first win of the invitational, but split on the day.
In their first game, Illinois faced off against Maine and defeated the Black Bears, 7-1.
Illinois came out and completely had their way against Maine on Saturday. They scored early and they scored often.
The star of the Illinois offense was junior Alex Booker. Booker was one of five players to earn two hits against the Maine Black Bears. She finished the game with a .500 avg and drove in two runs off of her two hits. Her two RBIs were the most out of any Illini player.
The other players to drive in runs for Illinois were Jess Perkins (one RBI), Jenna Mychko (one RBI), and Jami Schkade (one RBI).
Although the offense was red hot, it was the pitching that was the biggest part in Illinois’ 7-1 victory.
The starting pitcher for the Illini on Saturday was sophomore Shelese Arnold. Arnold came into the game with a 1-4 record, but really dominated the Black Bears. She threw a complete game that was highlighted with three hits, one run, zero earned runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
On the other side, Maine’s starting pitcher, Alexis Bogdanovich, had a really rough game against the Illinois Fighting Illini. She pitched a complete six innings for the Black Bears and gave up twelve hits, seven runs, five earned runs, two walks, and struck out zero batters.
The only two players to record at least one hit for the Black Bears were Kristen Koslosky (2) and Jessica Burk (1).
In their second game on Saturday, the Fighting Illini faced off against Toledo and heavily struggled as they lost, 0-6.
The offense for Illinois did a complete 360 from what it looked like in the game against Maine. They simply ran into good pitching from the Rockets.
Toledo sent starting pitcher, Alli Beery, to the circle and she had an amazing game against Illinois. Beery threw a complete seven shutout innings. On top of that, she gave up only one hit and three walks while striking out four Illini batters.
Illinois sent Pepper Gay out to start against the Toledo Rockets. She pitched very well in the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth.
In the top of the sixth, Toledo scored three runs on three hits to pull ahead of the Fighting Illini, 4-0. Allison Beard scored off of a Leigh Nebendahl fielder’s choice. Then, Sammy Emery and Lani Ernst scored when Jessica Lemieux pinched hit and singled to center field.
After giving up two more runs in the top of the seventh, Gay was pulled from the game and the Illini put in Jackie Guy for the final out of the inning.
The only Illinois player to record a hit in the game against Toledo was none other than Alex Booker.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are now 6-12 on the season.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will play their final game of the USF Under Armor Invitational on Sunday against Providence. Opening pitch will be at 10:30 a.m. (CST).
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