COLUMBIA, Mo. (WCIA) — Illinois softball got out to a great start scoring twice in the bottom of the first inning but Arizona scored four in the next two innings on its way to an 8-3 win in the opening round of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve been having trouble getting all facets of our game to show up at the same time,” Illinois head coach Tyra Perry said. “That was our post-game speech. How do we get our pitching, defense, hitting, base running all working together?”
The Illini (34-21) were led by Kelly Ryono who went 2-for-4 and accounted for all three of Illinois’ runs batted in. Sydney Sickels started the game in the circle and struck out three but only lasted 2.2 innings, allowing four earned runs. The Wildcats hit four home runs, scoring six runs total off the long ball. With the loss, Illinois falls into the elimination bracket and will face Missouri State Saturday at 4 p.m. A win would keep their season alive and pit them against either host Missouri or Arizona at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with a spot in the regional final on the line.
“In this setting you can’t take anyone for granted,” Perry said. “The tournament wasn’t a one day tournament where the people that won today won the whole thing. We’re going to regroup tonight and we’re going to come out and give our best effort tomorrow.”