Illinois softball drops both Braggin’ Rights games to Mizzou in home opener

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The Daily Illini Photo File

Utility Kailee Powell catches a ball from first base during a game against UIS on Oct. 2. The Illini lose both home games on Wednesday against Missouri 6-7 and 2-10.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

Illinois hosted two games against Mizzou in Champaign for the Braggin’ Rights, dropping both. The first game was played in eight innings while the later game was in five.

As expected, senior pitcher Sydney Sickels started game one for the Illini. She was cruising through three innings, but gave up a two-run blast in the fourth. 

The next inning, Mizzou added another run via a homer to right. Illinois responded, courtesy of junior utility Delaney Rummell’s solo home run. 

Mizzou gave themselves more breathing room with their third home run in the fifth. They then added two more the next inning.

With three outs to play in the sixth inning and down 6-1, the Illini refused to quit and the bats got hot. Redshirt junior outfielder Danielle Davis led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Junior outfielder Kelly Ryono brought her in with an infield single to make it a four-run ballgame. The Tiger first baseman committed a crucial error that led to two runs coming around to score, making it a 6-4 game. 

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    Senior utility Kailee Powell then doubled to make it a one-run game and had the tying-run at third base. Graduate catcher Bella Loya hit a clutch RBI single to inch her team closer to the miraculous comeback. That was the last of the five runs the Illini scored in the seventh inning, enough to force an extra inning.

    Mizzou had an RBI single in the eighth to quickly regain the lead. Freshman pitcher Lauren Wiles came out of the pen and created a double play and got the last out to ground out. 

    In the Illini’s half-inning, sophomore infielder Megan Ward hit a two-out single, but they were unable to bring her in, resulting in a 7-6 defeat. 

    Later that day, Illinois had a rematch with the Tigers. Wiles got the start and surrendered a homer and an RBI single in the first. Illinois followed with two of their own the next inning with a home run from freshman outfielder Stevie Meade and an RBI from redshirt sophomore utility Jaelyn Vickery. 

    In the third, Mizzou busted the game open with a six-run inning, making the score 8-2. The Tigers added two in the fourth and the Illini were unable to touch home for the remainder of the game, the final score, 10-2. 

    Illinois falls to 11-9 on the season.

    The Illini will compete in the UGA Classic in Athens, Georgia, on March 19 and 20. The first game of the tournament will be against Mercer at 9:30 a.m.

     

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