Illinois Softball: Iowa Series Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini will play a two-game series against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Tuesday.

The Illini come into Tuesday’s doubleheader on a little bit of a roll after sweeping the Indiana Hoosiers this past weekend. They scored a total of fourteen runs in the series compared to the Hoosiers’ four runs and shut the Hoosiers out in the final two games of the series.

The Iowa Hawkeyes come into this series with an overall record of 24-19 and a Big Ten Conference record of 4-11 (9th in the Big Ten). They were swept by the #9 Michigan Wolverines this past weekend.

The best hitter for Iowa coming into the series is sophomore Megan Blank.

June 5, 2011; Fullerton, CA, USA; A detailed view of a composite barreled bat that meets the new NCAA guidelines as of January 2011 before the start of a game between the Cal State Fullerton Titans and the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Fullerton regional of the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament at Goodwin Field. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

She leads the team in nine statistical category which include: batting average (.460), runs (32), hits (57), doubles (12), home runs (10), RBIs (53) slugging percentage (.831), walks (27), and on-base percentage (.572).

On top of all that, she has the fewest strikeouts on the team with only nine so far this season.

The biggest boost for Illinois on offense thus far has been their lead-off hitter, Alex Booker. Not only does she have the best batting average and his on the team, but she is also the best baserunner. She has the most stolen bases on the team with 15 this season.

In fact, the best part of the Fighting Illini’s game this season by far has been their running on the base paths. They are ranked 47th in the nation as a team with an average of 1.44 stolen bases per game.

There is no reason why the Fighting Illini shouldn’t be able to win both games on Tuesday.

Against the Indiana Hoosiers, they received a HUGE boost from their pitching and individually from Shelese Arnold. She started the last two games of the series against Indiana and went the distance in BOTH games while giving up no runs.

Pitching can be Illinois’ best friend or biggest enemy. As long as the pitching continues to perform as it did against Indiana, then Illinois should be able to sweep the Hawkeyes on Tuesday.

Series Prediction: Illinois Sweeps Series.

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Tags: Alex Booker Illinois Fighting Illini Iowa Hawkeyes Megan Blank Shelese Arnold Softball

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