The Illinois Fighting Illini were able to do something that they hadn’t done in quite some time by sweeping the Indiana Hoosiers in their doubleheader on Saturday.
The Illini and the Hoosiers were suppose to start their weekend series on Friday, but Friday’s game was moved to Saturday due to the weather forecast.
Coming into Saturday’s doubleheader, the Fighting Illini hadn’t won a game since they defeated the #24 Nebraska Cornhuskers on March 30th. They were riding a nine game losing streak and were 1-13 in their last fourteen games.
In game one on Saturday, Illinois needed some late inning heroics to get the win over the Indiana Hoosiers. The Illini offense jumped out of the gate first with two-runs in both the first and third innings. However, the Hoosiers were able to tie the game with four-runs in the fifth inning.
Although, Illinois got that one extra hit that gave them the win in the bottom of the eighth. After walking and striking out in her first two at bats of the game, Jessica Davis hit a game winning home run on just the second pitch of the inning.
The winning pitcher for Illinois in the first game was Pepper Gay. She pitched a complete game giving up five hits, four runs, and six walks. She only struck out two batters. With this start, Gay tied the Illinois school record for career starts (105).
The losing pitcher for Indiana was Meaghan Murphy. Murphy came out of the bullpen in the fourth inning. She gave up one run on three hits and struck out three batters.
The second game featured less offense than the first game, but Illinois was still able to defeat the Hoosiers, 1-0.
The star of the game for the Fighting Illini was starting pitcher, Shelese Arnold. Arnold went out and threw a two-hit shutout and picked up her sixth win of the season.
Similarly to game one on Saturday, the only run of the game for Illinois came in home run fashion. Remeny Perez was able to blast a solo shot to center field in the bottom of the sixth.
With how the pitching was in this game, the first team to score was going to be the winning team and that team ended up being the Fighting Illini.
Despite losing the game, Indiana also had their starter pitch a complete game. Lora Olson pitched six solid innings where she only gave up one run on five hits.
After the doubleheader, head coach Terri Sullivan said:
Winning the first game in extra innings and the second with a 1-0 shutout was big for our team. JD (Jessica Davis) and Remeny both came through with the long balls we have been looking for. Pepper was resilient and saved her best two innings for last, and Shelese was outstanding today using her defense and trusting her pitches.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are now 13-25 overall and 3-11 in the Big Ten this season.
Illinois will have a chance to sweep the Hoosiers on Sunday as they will play the series finale at 1:00 p.m. (CST) on Sunday.
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