URBANA, Ill. -- Minnesota, ranked 15th in this week's poll, improved to 26-4 on the season by defeating Illinois, 11-1, in a five-inning, run-rule decision on Saturday. The victory gave the Gophers their 12th win in a row, matching the school's longest win streak.
The Maroon and Gold has had four previous 12-game win streaks, last accomplishing the feat in 2000.
Minnesota used a Tyler Walker home run to get on the board. With Taylor LeMay and Paige Palkovich on base in the second inning, Walker hit her fifth home run in her last three games to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead.
Walker's long ball was the 41st of her career.
Minnesota broke the game open with eight runs in the third.
After a bases-loaded wild pitch scored Kaitlyn Richardson, Erica Meyer blasted a three-run home run to further cushion the Gophers' lead. Richardson came to bat again in the inning with the bases loaded and delivered the team's third grand slam of the season to make it 11-0.
Richardson and Walker are now tied for the team lead in home runs with eight and 35 RBI.
Illinois got on the board with a solo home run by Carly Thomas in the fifth, but Minnesota closed out the game without conceding another run.
Sara Groenewegen, who went 3-for-3 at the plate, earned her 17th win of the season in the circle, striking out five in three innings of work. Kylie Stober finished the game off by tossing two perfect innings in her first-career conference appearance.