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Doubleheader spells double disaster for Illini softball

The University of Illinois softball team played a pair of games at Eichelberger Field on Wednesday night against fellow Illinois Big Ten rival Northwestern University. If both of the games ended after the sixth inning, the Illini would have left the field as the happy victors of both, but two seventh inning rallies by the Wildcats changed the story of the evening.

While it should be noted that the Illini offense was not great, they combined for only thirteen hits between the two games, the real failure in both games was pitching. Breanna Wonderly started both games, pitching the first six innings of the first and the entire second game and was overall mediocre. After the game she reflected on the evening saying that she was proud that the coaches had faith in her and that her defense was solid behind her but she needed to be better.

Wonderly should not take all of the blame though, she left the first game after six innings with the Illini leading 6-5. In the next inning split between two Illinois pitchers, Jade Vecvanags and Kate Giddens, the Wildcats scored eight runs and shut out the Illini in the bottom of the inning, securing the first victory at a final score of 6-12.

The second game ended with a much closer score of 6-4 but again left the Illini disappointed after blowing a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh inning. Simply put, Northwestern performed in the clutch situations and Illinois did not. Illini second baseman Allie Bauch made some outstanding defensive plays and third baseman Danielle Trezzo stayed hot at the plate but in the end it was just not enough.

Illinois now stand 23-17 overall but drop their conference record down to 3-8 and are 2-7 in the month of April as they continue to search for an identity. Their next three games will important road games at Purdue this Friday, Saturday and Sunday where the Illini will need to try to stop their downward momentum as they head into the final month of the season before the conference tournament.


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