Illinois softball drops two of three at home

By Drake Pena

The Illinois softball team is adapting to its home field after spending much of its season on the road.ej The team’s past six games have been played at Eichelberger field, bringing mixed results.ej

This past weekend, the team squared off against Rutgers, winning one of its three contests.ej

The Illini are 5-3 at home this season, giving them a .625 winning percentage, close to its .647 winning percentage on the year.ej

Head coach Tyra Perry said that in order for her team to continue its success, it must compete at the highest level possible.ej

“We did not make adjustments fast enough,” Perry said. “We had a lot of giveaway at-bats. We are in the Big Ten; you have to hit the ball. We know that and normally we do, but today we could not quite find a break and could not quite get solid contact. We will continue to work on that and do better next game.”

Game one brought the team’s only victory, overpowering the Scarlet Knights, 8-0.ej

Ace pitcher junior Jade Vecvanags nearly threw her second no-hitter of the season, quieting the Rutgers bats and allowing only one hit during the contest.ej

Perry thought the big win was a solid start to the weekend, crediting her pitcher’s remarkable performance and the stellar defense behind her.

“Today was a good start to the series,” said Perry. “I was really proud of Jade Vecvanags as she came through and pitched her game. I was also proud of our defense. They played really solid behind her.”

The team’s weekend went downhill from there, losing its next two contests.ej

After holding a lead until the sixth inning in game two, Rutgers scored three to force the game into extras.ej In extras, the Scarlet Knights were able to score five and eventually win, 10-5.ej

Vecvanags was not able to repeat her earlier performance in game three, giving up two runs in the team’s 3-1 loss.ej

Senior Allie Bauch scored the Illini’s only run of the game, hitting her fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth.ej

The two losses put the team at 22-12 overall on the year, earning the team respect in the national rankings.ej For the first time all season, Illinois received a vote to be a part of the Top 25 in the USA Today and ESPN polls.ej

The recognition comes after taking two of three from previously ranked No. 24 Nebraska. On the year, Illinois is 3-2 when facing ranked competition.ej

Illinois will travel to Normal, Illinois, on Tuesday for a game against in-state rival Illinois State.ej ISU is 10-23 on the year and nine of the Redbirds’ games have come versus ranked foes, including three in the top five.

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