Josiah Schueneman, 23 Sports

The Illinois Fighting Illini rode big offensive performances from Kiana Sherlund and Bella Loya to help take both matchups against the Missouri Tigers in a doubleheader on Wednesday. Illinois won the first game, 5-2, and in the second game, despite a late push by Missouri, they hung on to win by a score of 9-6.

In game one, Kiana Sherlund and Sam Acosta each went 2-for-4 to help provide the scoring punch for the Fighting Illini. Stephanie Abello also contributed by going 1-for-3 with a home run, a run and two RBIs. Emily Oestreich pitched a complete game giving up just two runs on six hits while striking out four batters and picked up her eighth win of the season. Illinois racked up a total of 10 hits in the contest.

Kara Decker led the way for the Tigers, going 2-for-2 with a double, walk, and a run. Regan Nash and Brooke Wilmes drove in the only runs for Missouri. Lauren Rice turned in a rough outing giving up five runs on five hits and three walks in 3 and 1/3 innings.

In the first inning Abello drilled a two-run homer to left field that gave Illinois an early 2-0 lead. Brooke Wilmes hit an RBI double down the right field line to cut the deficit to 2-1. Although, that was as close as the Tigers got. Carly Thomas capped off a three-run fourth inning with a sacrifice fly to left field to stretch the lead to four runs, and the Fighting Illini hung on for the victory.

In game two, Sherlund recorded another multi-hit game. She was 2-for-4, with three RBIs and two runs. Bella Loya, who notched two hits in game one, continued her strong play with another two-hit effort while driving in a run, and Alexis Carillo went 1-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs, and a run. Taylor Edwards received the win despite a rocky finish to the game where she allowed five runs on four hits. Two of the runs were unearned, however, and she managed to throw in 6 and 1/3 innings. Oestreich pitched in her second straight game, but this time in relief for Edwards. She held down the fort and preserved the win for Illinois.

Braxton Burnside had a monster game at the plate going 3-for-4 with a double and bringing home half the runs for the Tigers. Regan Nash once again had an RBI while going 2-for-4 with a run. Trenity Edwards was the only other Tiger with a hit and at least one RBI as she went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Madi Norman couldn’t get out of the first inning and gave up five runs on three hits and a walk while recording just one out. Danielle Baumgartner ended up pitching 5 and 2/3 innings in relief, and she did not perform much better as she gave up four runs on four hits.

The Fighting Illini got off to a blazing hot start as Carillo lead a five-run first inning which forced the Tigers to pull Norman in the first inning. Illinois controlled the game for most of the way, leading 9-2 going into the seventh inning. Although, it became interesting as Edwards brought in two runs on a double to left field to cut the lead to five runs. They racked up two more runs after singles by Nash and Burnside, but it was too little, too late.

Amanda Sanchez reached base for the 25th straight game after totaling a hit and three walks in the doubleheader and she tied for the sixth longest game streak in Mizzou Softball history.

After dropping both games, the Tigers have lost five in a row, and hope to stop the drought as they face No. 23 Mississippi State at home on Friday.