After securing a first-round bye, the IU softball team will play Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m Friday. The Fighting Illini defeated Maryland 5-3 on Thursday afternoon.
This is the fifth straight Big Ten Tournament appearance for the Hoosiers and the three seed is the highest ranking in program history. IU is 4-9 all-time in the conference tournament, with the last win coming in 2016 when it shutout Wisconsin 4-0, before being defeated by No. 2 Michigan, 11-0. It was the first time since 2006 IU had won a Big Ten Tournament game.
Illinois came back to defeat Maryland after scoring three runs in the sixth inning. It moved the Fighting Illini to 37-17 on the season and the Fighting Illini have now won 12 of their last 14 games.
The Fighting Illini lead the conference in total batting average on the season at .321. They have seven players in their everyday lineup that bat at least .300. Junior outfielder Kiana Sherlund leads the way by hitting .398 with 80 hits. Junior outfielder Carly Thomas was named first-team All-Big Ten after hitting .369 with 66 hits and nine home runs.
Junior Emily Oestreich and junior Taylor Edwards carry the load for Illinois in the circle and have combined for 147 strikeouts this season.
The two teams last met in 2015 when Illinois swept the Hoosiers. Illinois also leads the all-time series 11-7.