Illinois, ranked 21st in the nation, showed why the Fighting Illini are among the nation's elite team on Tuesday evening, sweeping a doubleheader from the injury-plagued Crusaders 18-0 and 13-0 in Urbana, Ill.
The Illini jumped out in front in the opening inning of game one, batting around and plating eight before Valparaiso retired the side. Two Crusaders left the game after one with injuries, and the Brown and Gold lost a third in game two.
Illinois added six runs in the second and four more in the third while pounding out 16 hits in the game. Valpo tallied just two hits in the opener, a bunt single by Stephanie Reinke (Parker, Colo./J.K. Mullen H.S.) to lead off the fourth and a Kelly Smoker (Kalamazoo, Mich./Comstock H.S.) single to left-center in the fifth.
Each team used three pitchers in the contest, and Illinois hurlers struck out eight.
In the second game, Sherri Taylor through a perfect game as the Illini tallied 14 more hits. After going scoreless in the opening inning, Illinois (37-11-1) scored five times in the second and four more in both the third and fourth innings.
Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) started for the Brown and Gold, throwing three innings and striking out two.
Valpo (7-33) will conclude its season this weekend with a pair of doubleheaders at Oakland. Friday's twinbill will begin at 11 a.m. CDT with Saturday's action starting at 1 p.m. CDT.