Notes: Softball Set for USF Under Armour Invitational
Feb. 27, 2013
ILLINI TOP THE CHARTS IN THE BIG TEN
Several members of the Illini are amongst the best in the Big Ten in a handful of statistical categories. Kylie Johnson leads all conference players with seven stolen bases, and Alex Booker is tied for second with six. Katie Repole continues to lead the Big Ten with two triples, both of which were hit on the same day, and Jess Perkins is third in HBP (5). Seven members of the Illini have had nine or more chances in the field without committing an error, in Johnson, Booker, Jenna Mychko, Remeny Perez, Brittany Sanchez, Shelese Arnold and Jade Smith.
In the circle, Pepper Gay ranks second in games started (9), fourth in appearances (11) and sixth in innings pitched (50.2). Statistically, she is fifth in strikeouts (40), fourth in called strikeouts (13) and fifth in opposing batting average (.201). Shelese Arnold ranks fourth in earned runs allowed (8) and home runs allowed (2) fifth in games finished (3), seventh in hits allowed (33) and eighth in ERA (1.81).
As a team, the Fighting Illini are third in the league in stolen bases (24), fourth in runners caugh stealing (3), fifth in triples (3) and hits allowed (80), and sixth in opposing batting average (.233).
FRESHMEN ADD SPEED, POWER TO LINEUP
All eight Illini freshmen have made their way into the lineup, and each one has contributed something to help the Orange and Blue win. Kylie Johnson leads the Big Ten with seven stolen bases, hitting .295 with a 4-hit game in Iowa. Allie Bauch is hitting .324 with 12 hits, five RBI, four runs, a double and a home run. Katie Repole leads the conference with two triples, has three RBI and three runs scored and team-high four walks. Jade Smith has a double, three runs and two SB. Danielle Trezzo has walked three times, stealing two bases and scoring twice.
As a class, the freshmen are hitting .250 with a .310 slugging percentage and a .311 on base percentage, tallying 20 of the team's 39 runs, 10-of-34 RBI, and 13-of-24 walks.
ILLINOIS HAS TOUGH 2013 SLATE
Illinois has a tough task this season, with 12 scheduled games against opponents that are ranked in the top 25 in the NFCA or ESPN.com polls this week, including six against top-10 teams. Illinois opened the season with a loss against No. 1 Alabama. The Orange and Blue played a pair of games against No. 6 Texas in Houston the following weekend. Jess Perkins hit a two-run homer off Texas' Gabby Smith to record the first home run hit off the Longhorns this season, but Illinois dropped both contests. The Illini squared off with No. 8 California and No. 22 Washington in Palm Springs last weekend, along with Georgia Tech and Oregon State, who both received votes in that week's NFCA poll and have been ranked in at least one poll this season. The Illini pitching staff allowed just one earned run against both No. 8 Cal and GT, but went 0-4 on the weekend.
Illinois plays No. 19/17 Kentucky and USF this weekend; the Wildcats have moved up in the polls every week, while the Bulls dropped from No. 17/14 to just receiving votes this week after going 0-5 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Illini will play a neutral site double header against No. 6 Missouri on March 20, and host a three-game series with Nebraska, who jumped to No. 25 in the ESPN.com poll this week, on March 29-31.
Additionally, the Illini host a three-game series with Ohio State on May 3-5 and visit Illinois State on March 27, who both received votes from the NFCA. Also receiving votes in the ESPN.com poll are Illinois opponents Northwestern and Iowa; the Illini go to Evanston for three games on April 5-7 and to Iowa City for a double header on April 23.
Of Illinois' 34 scheduled opponents, 14 qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament, six participated in Super Regionals, and three advanced to the Women's College World Series (Alabama, California, USF). Additionally, `Bama and Cal finished the year #1 and #2 in the RPI, with a total of 13 Illinois opponents clocking in in the top 50.
GAY BREAKS ALL-TIME STRIKEOUTS RECORD
With her fourth strikeout against North Dakota State on Feb. 9, 2013, senior Pepper Gay became Illinois' all-time strikeout leader, tossing her 471st K. Gay passed Amanda Fortune (2001-04) to take over the top spot. On Feb, 24, 2013, Gay became the first Illini pitcher to record 500 strikeouts, in a tw-hit, one-run game vs. Georgia Tech in Palm Springs, Calif.