Illinois softball picks up home victory


Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Kiana Sherlund (6) waits for the pitch during the game against SIUE at Eichelberger Field on Wednesday, April 12. The Ilini won 5-2.

By Erich Fisher, Staff writer

The Illinois softball team earned a win against SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday.

The Cougars struck first in the game with junior Tess Eby hitting a solo shot off sophomore Taylor Edwards to start the third inning.

The Illini answered back in the bottom-half of the inning after junior Leigh Farina stole home as sophomore Kiana Sherlund stole second.

Illinois added four runs in the fourth when junior Sam Acousta hit an RBI single to score junior Jill Nicklas. Acousta then scored on an RBI single from Sherlund.

Freshman Veronica Ruelius pinch-hit for senior Alyssa Gunther and hit an RBI-double in her at-bat, scoring junior Maddi Doane and sophomore Kiana Sherlund. 

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“I swung at a couple pitches I didn’t exactly want, but I got to see them,” Ruelius said. “On the last one, I was able to tighten up and make contact.”

A sacrifice fly in the sixth frame cut the deficit to three for SIUE.

However, the Cougars did not score another run in the game. Senior Breanna Wonderly came into the game to get the save for Illinois.

 Perry went deep into her bullpen in the game, using four different pitchers.

“Erin (Walker) is still working on throwing quality pitches and not giving up any ‘free bees’, but she is showing a lot of promise,” Perry said. “(Kate Giddens) was an assassin. She faced one batter in a big situation, and she got (the out) for us.”  

The Illini moved up one in the win column after this game, improving their record to 28-10 on the season before they travel to Michigan State for a weekend series.

Junior Annie Fleming’s old Peoria Notre Dame High School team attended the game to support her and greet her afterwards.  

“I’m so proud of her. She’s a great leader,” former Peoria Notre Dame teammate Megan Kemp said. “She was always picking us up and was always a positive influence. She made me more confident and taught me valuable leadership qualities.”

Fleming was just as excited to see her former teammates as they were to see her.

“It was awesome; that team was a family, and we helped sponsor that culture there for the next few years,” Fleming said. “That program has grown so much and to know that I was a part of building that is really special.”

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