Perry gets 500th career win in strong weekend for Illinois softball

By Meghan Rest, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois softball will return home after going 3-1 at the Fresno State Friendly this weekend.

Despite losing the first game 4-3, head coach Tyra Perry picked up her 500th career win after the Illini bested Cal Poly 5-3 to split the series 1-1.

Illinois’ weekend started against host Fresno State on Friday.

The two-game series began with a solid performance on the mound from sophomore Akilah Mouzon. The pitcher relieved junior Emily Oestreich in the second inning and closed out the contest with two earned runs, no walks and two strikeouts.

The Illini capitalized on scoring in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Junior Alexis Carrillo and senior Leigh Farina both lead the team with two hits each.

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    The Illini went on to beat the Bulldogs 10-9 in a nine-inning game.

    Illinois continued the winning streak through the next game, overcoming Fresno State again 8-5. The Illinois bats were firing off, as the team piled on eight runs under eight hits.

    The Illini were also able to showcase power on the mound once again. Junior Taylor Edwards pitched through the fourth inning, allowing four runs and eight hits, and walking two batters with no strikeouts. Edwards was later relieved in the fifth inning by Mouzon.

    Oestreich, who closed out the contest for Illinois in the eighth and ninth innings, snatched up the eventual win.

    While the Illini successfully swept their first tournament opponent on Friday, Saturday gave the team a different flavor of competition.

    The Illini got off to a rocky start against their Saturday opponents – the Cal Poly Mustangs.

    Oestreich started the game off, throwing through the third inning. She allowed eight hits and three runs with no walks and one strikeout. Mourzon, who would go on to take the team’s only loss over the last seven games, replaced her.

    Cal Poly sophomore Shelby Jefferies snagged the win, closing out the game with no hits or runs allowed and one strikeout.

    Despite a fairly even-cut battle, Cal Poly would out-score Illinois in the eighth to set up the victory. The Mustangs gained one run in the first, two in the third and capped off the extra innings with one in the eighth.

    Illinois attempted to counteract the offense, sneaking in one run in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but the team couldn’t keep up. Sherlund, Farina and freshman Bella Loya would each collect one run each.

    The Mustangs topped the Illini 4-3.

    However, Illinois split the series in the final contest. The team edged the Mustangs 5-3 in Perry’s 500th career win.

    Mouzon scooped up her second win of the tournament after pitching the first four innings of the game. She allowed six hits and three runs with no walks or strikeouts. Edwards helped close out the game in the final two innings.

    On offense, the Illini had a big third inning. The team scored four runs and took the advantage over the Mustangs 4-3. In the fourth, Illinois would score once more. Sherlund went 2-4 and senior Sam Acosta went 2-2, helping lead the Illini to victory.

    Cal Poly scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning.