Wisconsin travels to Champaign to take on powerful Illinois squad

After a 10-game home stand, Wisconsin (3-10 Big Ten, 18-23 overall) heads to Champaign this weekend for a three-game series against Illinois (8-4, 18-21).

The Badgers go into this weekend series after splitting a doubleheader with Green Bay this past Tuesday. Wisconsin recorded 29 hits in the two games, outhitting the Phoenix by 10.

UW will look to keep the bats going against Illinois, facing a pitching staff whose collective ERA is 6.14. Sophomore Chloe Miller and freshman Kelsey Jenkins led the Badgers with four hits apiece against Green Bay. Miller improved her batting average to .351, and she is now tied with senior Marissa Mersch for the third-highest mark on the team. 

Last season, Wisconsin swept Illinois in their three-game series, outscoring the Fighting Illini 16-7. However, this year Illinois is on a hot streak and has won 10 of its last 11 games, losing only one to Iowa at the beginning of the month. Illinois is also currently ranked fifth in the Big Ten, while the Badgers are currently in 13th place. 

While junior pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart did not see action against Green Bay, the Badgers will need her and freshman Mariah Watts to dominate the circle. Stewart’s 4.29 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher on either team.

Stewart dominated the second game against Illinois last year. She struck out eight in a complete game effort as the Badgers won 10-3.

The Badgers will now look to find the missing consistency that has plagued their season thus far as they head to Champaign. The first game will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Eichelberger Field.

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