Illinois softball earns first Big Ten Tournament victory in 10 years

By Charlotte Carroll

The Illinois softball team was playing to stay alive in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. And the Illini did just that in the top of the seventh inning, scoring six runs on eight hits to grab a 6-0 win over Iowa.

Scoreless until the top of the seventh, the Illini finally put it all together and got some runners across the plate. The team had 15 hits all together, with eight of those coming in the seventh.

Nicole Evans led off the seventh with a solo home run, setting the tone for the rest of the inning. Alex Booker and Brittany Sanchez had a single each in the seventh that drove in runners to make the score 3-0.

Remeny Perez then sealed the victory with a two-out home run to make the score 6-0.

“It’s fun, that’s why you play,” head coach Terri Sullivan prior to the tournament. “Athletes play to play the best and to have games that mean something. There’s just something more on the line. You’re challenged and have to be very resilient and in charge of the mental side of your game and obviously play really well.”

Illinois was looking for redemption against Iowa after losing its opening conference series to the Hawkeyes in March.  

With their first tournament victory in 10 years, the Illini advance to the quarterfinals and play top seeded Michigan on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The Illini are looking to for their second win against Michigan this season after a mercy rule upset against the Wolverines only two weeks ago.  

Charlotte can be reached at [email protected] and @charlottecrrll.