Softball
Bauch, Johnson Named NFCA All-Midwest Region

 
 

all-region graphic

May 15, 2014

Louisville, Ky. - Illini sophomores Allie Bauch and Kylie Johnson were named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region Third Team this morning, as elected by the NFCA member coaches from the region. It marks the first regional award for the pair of second-year players, and follows Johnson's 2014 Second Team All-Big Ten selection.

The pair are the 15th and 16th Illini to earn All-Region honors over the past 15 seasons. Bauch is the second Illini second baseman to take home the honor, following three-time All-Region selection and two-time All-American Danielle Zymkowitz '11, while Johnson is the third outfielder to earn the award and first since LeeAnn Butcher and Rachelle Coriddi both garnered third team honors in 2004.

Allie Bauch started all 50 games at second base for the Fighting Illini, batting in the leadoff position. The Schaumburg, Illinois, native led the Illini with a .547 slugging percentage, totaling a team-high eight home runs, two triples and six doubles, while walking a team-leading 21 times for a .417 on base percentage. Bauch led the Orange and Blue with 19 multi-hit performances, including four 3-hit games, while knocking in 23 runs and stealing eight bases. A true catalyst for the Illini offense, Bauch hit .424 when leading off an inning, starting 20 games on first base and crushing five leadoff home runs.

Bauch opened the season strong, collecting four hits, two walks, four runs and five RBIs on opening day. She went 2-for-3 including a two-out single with a runner on second against No. 1 Tennessee, then hit .615 at the UTA Hilton Invitational with eight hits in 13 at-bats. The slugger hit two home runs in the Illini's victory at Illinois State, then proceeded to go 2-for-4 in all three games at Wisconsin as part of a 15-game reached base streak. Her hot-hitting continued against No. 4 Michigan, putting together five hits against the Wolverines, including going a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs in the Saturday doubleheader. She carried that momentum into the final week of the regular season, where she smacked home runs in all three games of the Penn State series. She then helped lead Illinois to victory over Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament First Round, going 3-for-5 with a triple and a run. Additionally, she demonstrated solid defense at second base, leading the Big Ten with 129 assists on the season and setting a new Illinois record for double plays turned by a second baseman, ranking third in the Big Ten behind only her teammates with 16 double plays on the year.

Kylie Johnson picks up her second postseason honor of 2014, adding to her All-Big Ten Second Team selection awarded earlier this month. The right fielder played in 45 games in 2014, making 37 starts at either right field or designated player. Entering the season as a primary pinch runner, Johnson stole four bases on opening weekend, then went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI as a pinch hitter-turned-designated player against Central Michigan in the final game of the trip. Her effectiveness in the lineup quickly earned her a starting role, appearing in the final 35 games of the season and starting all but one--a game against Iowa in which she went 4-for-4 with two runs after entering the game as a pinch hitter.

The sophomore speed demon led the Fighting Illini with a .383 batting average on the year, good for eighth all-time at Illinois, while leading the Big Ten with three triples during conference play and swiping 10 bases. A great situational hitter, Johnson was tops on the team by hitting .423 (22-for-52) with runners on base and .560 (14-for-25) with runners in scoring position. Additionally, she hit .400 with two outs, picking up nine of her 14 RBIs with two away. Johnson heated up as the season came to a close, finishing the year on an eight-game hitting streak, including six hits in four games against top-10 Michigan and a two-run triple at Penn State.

"Kylie and Allie really improved their games on all levels this year," said Head Coach Terri Sullivan. "This improvement was a direct result of the dedication they gave to softball in the offseason and in their efforts every day at practice. They are outstanding teammates, and we know they will become even better players as upperclassmen and become outstanding leaders for our team. I know they would say their teammates made them better as well."

Bauch and Johnson were among 392 Division I student-athletes to be named to All-Region squads. The Big Ten Conference captured 36 All-Region selections, including a total of 13 first-team honorees. For the complete list of NFCA All-Region winners, click here.

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