Illini Softball Starts the Year off Swinging

By Will Charlton

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illini women’s softball team hit the diamond for the first time this past weekend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

It was quite a successful weekend for the squad in the five games they played, as they now sit at 4-1.

The four wins included two against Central Arkansas, one against South Alabama, and one against the home Louisiana State Tigers; who were ranked 14th.

The successful weekend allowed the Illini to jump into the top 25; where they were ranked 25th to start this week.

Tweet courtesy of @IlliniSB twitter

In the extra-inning win against LSU on Sunday morning, the Illini recorded nine hits, which translated into five runs. Right fielder Kelly Ryono led the way as she went 3-4 in the win, including a run.

While the Tigers got out to an early 2-1 lead, the Illini scored four unanswered runs to take the game. Some very solid pitching from Sydney Sickels and Lauren Wiles helped out with not allowing any runs after the first inning.

In fact, because of her great performances this past weekend, Lauren Wiles was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week as she recorded a 2-1 record, a 0.82 ERA, and 20 strikeouts in the three games she pitched during the Tiger Classic.

Tweet courtesy of @IlliniSB twitter

The other win for Wiles this past weekend came on Saturday against South Alabama.

In that game, Wiles pitched the whole seven innings en route to a 3-2 victory for the Illini; which shows that she is going to be an extremely key member of this team for the foreseeable future.

The loss of the weekend for her came in the first matchup against LSU where the Illini fell 4-2 last Friday night.

Next up for the Illini, they’ll be heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas where they will be playing five games in the Razorback Invitational.

The Illini will play two games tomorrow on Friday, two games on Saturday, and will top it off with a second matchup against Arkansas on Sunday morning.

Story photo courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

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