The Daily Illini

Illinois softball looking to rebound this weekend against Purdue at home

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Illinois softball looking to rebound this weekend against Purdue at home

Illinois' Nicole Evans bats in the game against Rutgers at Eichelberger Field on Sunday, Apr. 3.

Illinois' Nicole Evans bats in the game against Rutgers at Eichelberger Field on Sunday, Apr. 3.

Brian Bauer

Illinois' Nicole Evans bats in the game against Rutgers at Eichelberger Field on Sunday, Apr. 3.

Brian Bauer

Brian Bauer

Illinois' Nicole Evans bats in the game against Rutgers at Eichelberger Field on Sunday, Apr. 3.

By Erich Fisher, Staff writer

The Illinois softball team will return to action this weekend against Purdue with a home series beginning Friday.

The Illini are coming off their first Big Ten losses of the season after winning one out of three games against No. 7 Minnesota last weekend.

The series caused Illinois to drop out of the top 25 and Minnesota to earn its first conference loss of the season. As a result, the Golden Gophers slid from sixth to seventh in the national rankings.

“We are just focused on resetting and making sure we get on the same page again,” said head coach Tyra Perry. “We’ve taken it as a positive, and we’re definitely ready to continue to move forward.”

Illinois will be coming in with a 24-10 overall record (4-2 in conference play). Purdue has an overall record of 15-23 (4-2 in conference play).

Senior first baseman Alyssa Gunther said the mood is still upbeat in the dugout despite the losses against Minnesota.

“It’s been very positive, and it’s definitely been a grind (this season). We still have a lot of games left,” Gunther said. “But we all have very positive attitudes and are all just trying to keep the energy up.”

After struggling in the first game of the series against Minnesota, senior pitcher Breanna Wonderly gave up a total of seven runs in the remaining two games.

She will be up against a Purdue team that has only three of its nine batters batting above .300. Seven of the nine Minnesota batters were batting above .300.

Senior outfielder Nicole Evans could potentially make history at the plate this weekend against the Boilermakers. She needs four home runs and five RBIs to become the all-time leader in both categories in Illinois softball history.

Going into their weekend series matchup, the Illini and the Boilermakers are right next to each other in the conference standings with Illinois in fourth and Purdue in fifth. With both teams being 4-2 in conference play, Perry is expecting the series to be very similar to what it was last year.

“It was a battle, each inning, each pitch, and I’m not expecting anything different with them just being down the road from us,” Perry said. “It’s going to be a great series.”

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@ETFisher24

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