Last weekend the University of Illinois softball team hosted a three game series against the University of Iowa at Eichelberger Field. Due to weather concerns the first two games were played back to back on Friday night and the final game was played on Sunday at noon. The Illini took advantage of a struggling Hawkeye team, winning all three games and giving up a combined total of only two runs in the three games. The weekend also featured a ceremony honoring the five Illinois graduating seniors after the games on Friday and Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Sunday for which the players wore pink jerseys. Both Friday games ended in 5-1 victories and Sunday’s bout ended 8-0 in a five inning slaughter-rule shortened game.
The Illini provided a solid all-around performance throughout the weekend however as good as the Illini were, the Hawkeyes were equally as bad. Illinois’ pitching, which has been an issue throughout the season, was fantastic, their defense was solid behind them and their offense came through with timely hits but the biggest key to the success of the weekend was Illinois’ ability to cash in on Iowa’s mistakes of which their were many.
Breanna Wonderly pitched two great games on Friday, going the distance in both and allowing only one run against in each game. With the wins Wonderly brings her season record to 14-9 and has shown quick progress in her comfortability in the number one spot. She says that she appreciates the trust that her coaches have shown in her by moving her to that spot and her recent productivity has certainly reflected that. Jade Vecvanags started game three on Sunday with something to prove after seeing a decrease in the frequency of her starts in the second half of the season and losing the number one spot to Wonderly but she answered in a big way with a skillful complete game shutout that brought her season record back over .500 at 11-10.
The Illini offense got consistent contributions from throughout the lineup during the series with five individual players getting hits in all three games. Illinois However, what was possibly the greatest weapon for the Illinois offense throughout was the Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes committed two errors in the first game, three in the second and a whopping eight errors were committed in Sunday’s blowout.
The Illini will return to Eichelberger Field on Wednesday at 5PM to host their final home game of the season against the Indiana State Sycamores.
See the full gallery here: [gallery illinois_softball_sweeps_series_for_seniors]
About the author: Tyler Courtney
Tyler is a graphic designer and award-winning photographer who specializes in sports, music, and event photography. Contact him directly via email, visit his website or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.