Softball
Alex Booker Named Big Ten Player of the Week

 
Alex Booker became the first Illini ever to hit for the cycle in the 9-1 victory over Creighton.
Alex Booker became the first Illini ever to hit for the cycle in the 9-1 victory over Creighton.
 

Feb. 24, 2014

Rosemont, Ill. – Illinois senior left fielder Alex Booker was named Big Ten Player of the Week this afternoon after making history on Sunday by becoming the first Illinois player to hit for the cycle in the Illini’s 9-1 victory over Creighton. It is the first career weekly honor for the Gurnee, Ill., native, as well as the first for the Illini this season. Illinois notched two Big Ten weekly honors in 2013, but the Illini have not earned Big Ten Player of the Week since Jess Perkins earned the honor as a freshman on April 30, 2012.

Booker hit safely in all four games at the UTA Hilton Invitational, going 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base on Saturday against UMKC, then tallying a single, a double, a triple and a home run to go along with three RBI and two runs against Creighton on Sunday. The left fielder began the weekend with a single, a stolen base and an RBI against Texas Tech, and finished the tournament by hitting a two-RBI double to drive in the game-winning run against UT Arlington. Booker tabbed a .529 batting average on the week, slugging 1.000.

The senior has been making the mark on the Illini record books, currently ranking seventh all time with a career batting average of .316, 10th in on base percentage (.376) and sixth in stolen bases (39). Her stolen base percentage of .848 (30-43) is the third-best in Illinois history, and her four triples, three of which have come in the first three weeks of this season (t-5th), rank eighth all time. She is also climbing the charts in total hits and runs scoring, sitting in the top 20 in both categories, while ranking sixth all-time in fielding percentage (.986). Her four hits against Creighton is tied for the second-most all-time by an Illini in a game, and her 10 total bases ties for third.

Minnesota senior Sara Moulton takes home Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors after tossing 17.0 innings without conceding a run at the UNCG Spartan Classic. She recorded 28 strikeouts and just one walk, including her 1,000th career punch out, limiting opposing batters to an .056 batting average. She tossed her fifth career no-hitter against Hampton, tabbing 11 strikeouts. The award marks the second for Moulton in the first three weeks of 2014 and her 10th career Pitcher of the Week honor.

Michigan pitcher Megan Betsa tabs Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second straight week, earning two wins at the FAU Kickoff Classic. She tallied 12.0 innings without allowing a run to go with 15 strikeouts. Scattered three hits over five innings against Pittsburg, then struck out 11 Florida Atlantic batters in a complete-game shutout, surrendering just three hits and one walk.

Illinois is back in action on Friday, Feb. 28, when the Illini take to the West Coast to participate in the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational. Illinois opens the weekend on the campus of Long Beach State with a pair of games against Oregon State (9 a.m. PT) and Utah Valley (2 p.m. PT).

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