Illinois softball to host Wisconsin in three game series this weekend

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Sydney Laput

Senior pitcher Sydney Sickles pitches during the game against SIUE on Tuesday. The Illini will be going up against the Badgers this weekend at Eichelberger Field.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

The Illini currently boast a three-game win streak and have not scored less than six runs in the last four games, which is perfect timing as they will host the highly touted Big Ten rival Badgers.

Wisconsin is 20-8 overall and holds an impressive 5-1 record in conference. The Badgers have won 10 of their last 11 games. However, they still might not have as much momentum as Illinois because they have not played since Sunday due to their doubleheader against Green Bay getting canceled last Tuesday. 

Junior Kelly Ryono and senior Avrey Steiner are coming off spectacular showings in the two previous weekday games. Ryono went 3-6 with four runs and four RBIs while Steiner also went 3-6 with three runs scored, all of them being very crucial in the games. Freshman Paige Berkmeyer also turned some heads in the weekday games, including going 4-4 with a run scored and four RBIs in the 11-3 route against Illinois State.

As for the pitching side, senior Sydney Sickels and freshman Lauren Wiles each earned wins and pitched well throughout. Sophomore Tori McQueen is likely to feature against the Badgers as well. Three games in three days mean that there will be a lot of stress on the pitching unit. 

Kayla Konwent has been the Badgers’ best overall hitter this season, starting in all 27 of the games she played. She leads the team in homers with six as well as her video game-like .547 OBP. She rarely strikes out and leads the team in walks with 24. She also leads the team in hits, RBIs and total bases. Ally Miklesh leads the team in average at an incredible .409 mark. She is also second on the team in hits with 27 and has the most stolen bases on the team with seven. Fiona Girardot has been a key part of this successful Badgers team putting up solid numbers. Her slash line is .311/.436/.473.

Maddie Schwartz and Ava Justman have been arguably the best 1-2 punch in the Big Ten. Tessa Magnanimo has been the main bullpen arm this year and she has perfectly executed her role so far on the season.

The Badgers are likely to be the Illini’s toughest test yet this season. Action for this instant classic begins Friday at Eichelberger Field at 5 p.m. and continues throughout the weekend.

 

@NickKane__

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