Illinois finished the regular season 11-1 including a 10-game winning streak
Illini had four extra-base hits but struggled with runners on
Gay did not allow an earned run in back-to-back complete games on Senior Day
Illinois and Ohio State are tied for sixth place in the Big Ten standings
Illinois defeats Southern Illinois, 4-2, in eight innings for ninth-straight victory
May 5th vs. Ohio State
Illinois' home game against Eastern Illinois on April 9, 2013
Photos from the Illini's Big Ten game versus Nebraska on March 30
Photos from Illinois' game vs. Wisconsin on March 23, 2013
Photos from the Illini's 2013 home opener, a thrilling, come-from-behind extra-inning victory.
Career Notes:Retires as one of Illinois' greatest pitchers of all time, holding four career records and finishing in the top three in several additional categories ... Went 71-47 with a 2.50 ERA and a .213 opposing batting average in 713.0 innings, pitching 17 shutouts ... Became the first Illinois pitcher to register 500 career strikeouts, finishing with a school-record 592 ... Registered the lowest career opponent batting average in school history, setting a .213 mark ... Made a program-record 113 career starts and completed 68 games ... Finished second all-time in strikeouts per seven innings (5.81), wins (71), saves (6), shutouts (17), innings pitched (713.0) and strikeouts looking (143), and ranks third at Illinois in career ERA (2.50) and appearances (151) ... Following her senior season, she ranked in the top 50 among active Division I pitchers in seven career categories: appearances (18th), starts (23rd), innings (29th), wins (30th), complete games (39th), strikeouts (42nd) and shutouts (45th).
2013 - Senior:College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big Ten First Team ... Academic All-Big Ten... Broke four Illinois career records (opposing batting average, strikeouts, starts, complete games) during her senior season, finishing in the top-3 all-time in eight additional major categories ... Made 37 pitching appearances as a senior, including 29 starts and 22 complete games ... Earned a 13-17 record with a 3.72 ERA and three shutouts in 186.1 innings pitched, earning a career-best .207 opposing batting average ... Limited opponents to 138 hits, 166 runs (99 ER) and 160 walks while striking out 129 ... Ranked fourth in the Big Ten with a .207 opposing BA and a .209 in conference play ... Finished 55th in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings, averaging 5.18 ...Broke the Illinois strikeouts record on Feb. 9 against North Dakota State ...Did not allow a hit until the sixth inning against North Dakota State, striking out nine in the complete-game victory ... Tossed the 10th no-hitter in Illinois history on Feb. 10 at UNI, allowing just one baserunner who reached on error in six shutout innings. She is fourth Illinois pitcher to do so and just the second to do so in a game that went longer than five innings ...Picked up two wins in a pair of complete games at the Houston Invite, going 2-1 in 20.0 innings with 13 strikeouts ... Became the first Illini pitcher to 500 strikeouts while tossing a one-run, two-hit gem against Georgia Tech ... Went 2-0 at the Fighting Illini Invitational, garnering the Illini's first extra-inning win, throwing a perfect eighth and ninth inning in relief (of her own start), then striking out seven batters in a complete-game victory over Saint Louis ... Had a successful relief appearance in the Northwestern finale, not allowing a hit or a run in 1.2 innings ... Made her program-record 106th career start on April 23, tossing a complete-game victory over Iowa ... Picked up two complete-game wins at Michigan State, hurling her 16th career shutout on April 28 ... Earned an extra-innings win at SIU, throwing 8.0 innings and earning her fifth-straight win ... Tossed every pitch of the Ohio State series; held OSU hitless through 6.2 innings in game two, then threw a three-hit shutout in her final game at Eichelberger Field ... Broke the Illinos record for complete games in the last game of her career, pitching her 68th CG against Penn State at the Big Ten Tournament.
2012 - Junior: NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team ... All-Big Ten Second Team ... Two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week (4/30; 5/6) ... Two-time College Sports Madness Conference Pitcher of the Week (4/30; 5/6) ... Academic All-Big Ten... Finished the season 22-15 overall with a 1.89 ERA, making 46 appearances while starting 35 contests and throwing 23 complete games ... Earned five shutouts while saving a pair of contests ... Tossed a single-season career-high 229 1/3 innings, holding opponents to 181 hits and 115 runs, only 62 of them earned ... Struck out 202 batters on the year while holding the opposition to a .213 batting average against ... Won her first game of the season with a complete game shutout of Alabama-Birmingham, striking out a season-high 11 while only allowing two hits and three walks in eight frames ... Recorded her second win with seven innings of shutout softball against Pittsburgh on Feb. 19, striking out six while only allowing two hits ... Threw a complete-game shutout of Hofstra, only allowing one hit to earn her third victory of the season ... Notched her first save of the year with 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Winthrop on Feb. 25, maintaining Illinois' one-run lead in support of starter Jackie Guy ... Improved to 8-2 on the season with a complete-game performance against Boston U., helping the Illini to earn the program's 400th win in the process ... Pitched four innings of shutout relief vs. UMass on March 17 to earn her ninth win of the year ... Recorded a pair of victories during the three-game series with Minnesota, shutting out the Gophers with a complete-game two-hitter in the first game of a March 24 doubleheader before securing the win with two innings of one-hit relief in the second contest of the day ... Secured the win at Eastern Illinois on April 12 with eight innings of one-run pitching, striking out seven Panthers in the process ... Won collegiate game No. 50 with a complete game effort against Wisconsin on April 15 ... Limited the Big Ten-leading Purdue offense to just one run on five hits and four walks to earn her 16th win on April 21st, striking out seven Boilermakers in the process ... Notched a pair of wins at No. 22 Michigan, earning Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week with 15 innings of one-run softball that included 10 strikeouts and only one extra base hit allowed on the weekend ... Tallied win No. 20 on the season, her second consecutive season reaching the plateau, with two runs allowed over a complete game effort against Southern Illinois on May 2 ... Improved to 21-13 with two runs allowed against Penn State on May 5, striking out seven Nittany Lions ... Added her second save of the season in game two on May 5, holding Penn State hitless over the final three innings as Illinois secured the win, 6-3 ... Concluded the PSU series with a complete-game, one earned run allowed contest with five strikeouts ... Gay's 2012 numbers rank second all-time in Illinois history in terms of most strikeouts (202), third in lowest opponent batting average (.213), fourth in strikeouts per seven-inning contest (6.17) and most starts (35) and tied for fourth in most complete games (23).
2011 - Sophomore: Academic All-Big Ten ... Went 20-14 with a 2.69 ERA in 37 appearances, including 32 starts ... Threw 17 complete games and four shutouts, totaling 182 and 1/3 innings on the season ... Held opponents to a .214 batting average against by only allowing 143 base knocks on the season ... Struck out 148 batters on the season, an average of 5.9 per seven inning contest ... Won her first game of the season by pitching six shutout innings against Texas-San Antonio on Feb. 12, only allowing three hits while striking out five ... Pitched five innings of work against Providence on Feb. 18, striking out then-career-high 10, while only allowing two hits and two walks in the 8-0 victory ... Went the distance against Fordham on March 5, holding the Rams to one unearned run on three hits in her fifth victory of the season ... Tossed seven innings without allowing an earned run against San Jose State to earn the victory, striking out a career-best 12 batters ... Secured the win over Michigan State on March 26 by only allowing two runs in seven innings while earning the save against the Spartans the following day with three frames of work - allowing one earned run ... Pitched a complete game shutout against Ohio State on April 9, holding the Buckeyes to two hits and three walks over five innings of work ... Threw three and 1/3 innings of two-hit relief to secure the victory over Northwestern on April 30 before holding the Wildcats to one earned run on May 1 to earn her 16th win ... Pitched a complete game at Iowa in the second contest of a doubleheader to secure the series sweep of the Hawkeyes, holding Iowa to two hits and two runs while striking out six batters ... Struck out 13 in 11 and 2/3 innings against Western Illinois, limiting the Leathernecks to two hits and no runs as a reliever in the first contest and the starting pitcher in the second game of the May 7 doubleheader ... Pitched a nine-inning shutout at Minnesota, holding the Gophers offense to three hits while striking out nine batters to earn her 20th win of the season.
2010 - Freshman: Illini Female Newcomer of the Year ... All-Big Ten Second Team ... Appeared in 31 games, making 17 starts ... Finished 16-1 on the season with a 1.46 ERA over 115 innings pitched ... Totaled six complete games and three saves ... Held batters to a .217 average, good for second place on the Illini pitching staff ... Struck out 113 batters against only 56 walks ... Was 6-1 with a 2.18 ERA in Big Ten games, pitching three complete games to go with one save ... Spread 30 hits over 35 and 1/3 innings ... Struck out 40 Big Ten batters against 15 walks ... Third in ERA among Big Ten pitchers who saw time in at least 15 contests ... Earned first collegiate win against Kent State on Feb. 14, spreading five hits over five shutout inning to go along with six strikeouts ... Pitched a complete game shutout against UC Riverside to earn her third win of the season on Feb. 20 ... Earned first collegiate save against Nevada, pitching 2 and 1/3 innings of relief ... Pitched a complete game on Feb. 27, shutting out Radford ... Earned the win in relief against Florida Gulf Coast, pitching four and 2/3 innings of shutout ball ... Earned her second save by pitching three shutout innings against Syracuse, allowing only one base-runner while striking out two ... Improved to 10-0 on the season with 4 and 2/3 innings, allowing three runs while striking out five ... Logged a complete game shutout of Michigan State on May 2, striking out eight Spartans over seven innings ... Improved to 15-1 on the season with a complete game shutout of Purdue on May 12 ... Pitched three innings of shutout relief in the Illini's 9-1 NCAA Regional victory over DePaul.
High School: Earned four letters in softball at St. Pius X for coach Joe Winland ... Posted an ERA of 0.37 as a junior with an average of 2.04 strikeouts per inning and opponents batting just .084 ... Had five no-hitters and four perfect games in high school ... First team All-State in 2008 ... All-Dekalb County all four years of high school ... St. Pius X Athlete of the Year in 2008 and 2009 ... Region 5 3A Player of the Year ... State All-Star team selection in 2008 ... Helped St. Pius X to the Georgia Final Four in 2008 and the Elite Eight in 2007 ... Also played for the Atlanta Vipers and coach Dickey Vallery for eight seasons ... National Honor Society.
Personal:Full name is Veronica Pepper Gay ... Born May 4, 1991 ... Daughter of Gerry and Mary Gay ... Has an older sister, Meredith, and an older brother, Brad ... Sister played softball at Elon University from 2003-07 ... Majoring in community health ... Plans to attend nursing school.
Getting to Know Pepper:
Favorite Athlete: Tim Tebow
Favorite Quote: "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." - Coco Chanel
Favorite Food: Lasagna
Favorite Movies:Pride and Prejudice and Legally Blonde
Favorite TV Show: SportsCenter
Something most people don't know: "I was a five-time Ironkids National Triathlon Champion."
Why Illinois?The academics and tradition
What do you like most about being a Fighting Illini: "The family atmosphere and great tradition."