Illinois softball travels to South Carolina to take on Clemson and Liberty


Photo courtesy of Illini Athletics

Utility Jaelyn Vickery begins to swing her bat during a home game at Eichelberger Field. The Illini will be playing at the Tiger Invitational going up against Clemson and Liberty on Saturday and Sunday.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

After a tremendous showing in the Cardinal Classic last weekend, Illinois is set to play in the Tiger Invitational where they will face Clemson and Liberty twice each.

Last tournament, Illinois shut out their opponent in three of the four games. The one loss was a one run defeat against Louisville. The pitching staff continued to dominate, courtesy of great showings from senior Sydney Sickels, sophomore Tori McQueen and freshman Lauren Wiles. The Cardinal Classic was by far the best showing from the Illini offense, however, as the offense scored at least eight runs in all four games.

Freshman Stevie Meade continued to make it look easy as she was tabbed Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week by going 7-13, with four doubles, and four RBIs. Redshirt sophomore Jaelyn Vickery also went 4-9, including a grand slam. Speaking of grand slams, junior Delaney Rummell hit one and had a total of six RBIs in the four games. 

Illinois will start things off Saturday at 10 a.m. against Liberty. They also will play them Sunday at 9 a.m. For Illinois, this is not a good time to be playing the Flames as they have been red-hot. The Flames started the year off at 0-5, but now see themselves at an impressive 14-6 and currently on an eight-game win streak. Liberty’s Devyn Howard leads the team with a .379 average and 22 hits, while Caroline Hudson leads the team with 15 RBIs and four home runs. Karlie Keeny has tossed 61.1 innings with a 2.17 ERA. Keeny has six complete games, two shutouts, and 27 strikeouts. 

Illinois will face Clemson after the two matches against Liberty each day. The No. 26 Clemson Tigers sit with a 13-6 overall record on the season, but unlike Liberty, have not been playing their best ball lately. The Tigers are coming off of a weekend sweep to No. 1 Virginia Tech. The player circled the most in the Illini’s scouting report is Valerie Cagle. She leads Clemson with 16 RBIs, five home runs and a .617 slugging percentage. Cagle has also carried in the circle, posting a 2.41 ERA and striking out 61 in 49.1 innings pitched. 

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Illinois will play its matches this weekend and then get right back into it for the highly anticipated home-opener versus Mizzou on Tuesday. After this, Illinois will travel to Athens, Georgia that Friday to participate in the UGA Classic. 



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