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Kentucky Eliminates Illini Softball From NCAA Regional

Illini outfielder Nicole Evans makes a diving catch

Illini outfielder Nicole Evans makes a diving catch during NCAA Regional play in Lexington, Kentucky. University of Illinois

The Illini softball team saw its season end Sunday with a 4-2 loss to host Kentucky in the NCAA Regional in Lexington.

Illinois finishes the 2017 season with a 39-20 record, the fourth-most wins in program history.

In Sunday's game, Kentucky jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead off of senior pitcher Breanna Wonderly, who pitched a complete game.

After the Wildcats added a run in the third, Illinois would manage single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could not get any closer.

Head coach Tyra Perry was pleased with her team's effort, but not the outcome.

"I am very pleased with the way we competed throughout the entire tournament, but especially in the last two games against Marshall and then today against Kentucky," Perry said. "I fully believed in that seventh inning that we had a chance, that we were going to push a couple across especially considering who we had coming up in our lineup and what they had done all year. It just did not happen for us this time."

Perry also had praise for the four seniors (Nicole Evans, Breanna Wonderly, Alyssa Gunther, Ruby Rivera) who played their final game for Illinois.

"They definitely set the tone and set the pace for the future," Perry said. "My only regret is that I only had two years with those guys."

It was the second straight NCAA Regional appearance for the Illini in Perry's two seasons as head coach. Illinois was also eliminated by Kentucky in the 2016 NCAA Regional.