Penn State

Penn State softball: Nittany Lions advance in Big Ten tourney with win over Illinois

The runs came in pairs early and now Penn State is moving on.

The Nittany Lions advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten softball tournament with a 5-2 first-round win over Illinois on Thurday. No. 11 Penn State (16-33, 5-17 Big Ten) plated four runs over the first two innings to take a lead it never relinquished.

Penn State will play No. 3 seed Minnesota in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Bowlin Stadium.

Freshman pitcher Macy Jones (13-17) pitched her 14th complete game. Jones struck out six batters to get to the 100-strikeout threshold on the season. Jones allowed just two runs on six hits.

Senior Cassidy Bell was a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Bell doubled in the first, singled in the fourth and homered in the seventh. She drew a walk in the second to finish 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs and an RBI. The solo shot was the 20th of the season for Bell.

Kailyn Johnson picked up a pair of RBIs on a two-out triple in the second while Jones added an RBI single in the first. Alyssa Sovereign singled in the second while Liz Presto drew a pair of walks.