Illinois softball heads to Louisiana for the weekend


Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Annie Fleming dives back to third during a game against Nebraska at Eichelberger Field on April 2. Fleming had a strong performance the last time the Illini played at ISU.

By Tatiania Perry , Staff writer

Coming off of last week’s 3-2 tournament, the Illinois softball team will head to Louisiana for its fourth tournament of the season in an attempt to improve on its 8-5 record.

One of the team’s highlights from last weekend was tying for the fourth-most runs in Illini history during a single game, 19, against Kennesaw State.

The Illini will face some of the toughest competition of the season thus far at the LSU Invitational.

No. 13 LSU has a 13-3 record, only falling to unranked Penn State, No. 17 Utah and No. 7 UCLA.

Head coach Tyra Perry said she keeps stressing the same things at practice in preparation for this weekend’s competition.

“We will be honing our craft and playing our game,” Perry said.

The last time the Illini faced a ranked team was No. 9 Oregon, when they fell 11-0. After the loss, Perry expressed that she and the team knew how the game would end, but they were more concerned with how they played than the score.

The Illini will first play a rival before their matchup against the Tigers.

For most of the University’s sports, Illinois State has been a constant adversary, and softball is no different.

In the last Illini-Redbird matchup, Illinois won 7-1 after strong performances from former pitcher Jade Vecvanags, now-senior Nicole Evans and now-junior Annie Fleming.

Vecvanags held Illinois State to one run on four hits in six innings and did not allow a Redbird hit for the majority of the first five innings of the game.

“We always play tough games against (Illinois State),” Perry said. “We will play them out there, then we will play them again at home, so it’s going to be a tough matchup.”

After having a nearly perfect game against Georgia last week— two hits and one walk —  senior Breanna Wonderly will be looking for a similar performance against the Redbirds.

The Redbird’s record is 6-5.

Along with Illinois State and LSU, Illinois will face Florida Atlantic University, who is 12-3.

Illinois will also face Troy University twice during the tournament. Troy has a similar record to Illinois, 10-7.

Perry said the team is looking forward to all the challenges the competition will present.

“We love to play; we need to play,” Perry said. “Any game where we get out there and play Illini softball is a good game.”

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