Sedlock named B1G Pitcher of the Year!

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It shouldn’t be any surprise to any Illini fan.  Starter Cody Sedlock has been chosen as the Big Ten Pitcher of Year.  He becomes the second Illini in as many years to garner the award after Tyler Jay earned it in 2015. 

Sedlock was efficient.  He had a conference ERA of 1.67 and an opposing batting average of .188.  Sedlock was durable.  In his last five starts, he lasted at least nine innings.  He was the nation’s only pitcher to last into the extra innings.  But most of all, Sedlock was intimidating.  His 116 strikeouts leads the Big Ten and broke the Illinois school record.

IMG_3607Junior Cody Sedlock received national attention on April 22nd when he pitched 10 2/3 shutout innings against Ohio State and struck out 14 batters.  Sedlock didn’t get the win but the baseball writers across the country noticed.  Since then, all eyes have been on him and he has responded brilliantly.  Sedlock allowed six earned runs in 34 innings pitched since that game. 

The season numbers on Sedlock:

W-L: 5-3, IP:  101 1/3, H: 80, ER: 28, BB: 31, K: 116

Sedlock was also unanimously named All-Big Ten First team.  While he just finished his junior year, no one is under any illusion that he will be returning.  In fact, some mock drafts show Sedlock will be going as high as the #32 overall pick in the MLB Draft on June 9-11. 

But that’s not all…

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On the 2016 All-Big Ten Third team is catcher Jason Goldstein.  As a former catcher himself, Coach Hartleb has always put a big emphasis on the position of catcher.  Goldstein is no exception.  He has the rare combination of defensive skills, prowess with the bat and leadership in the dugout. 

Goldstein led the team in hitting for almost the whole season.  He ended up with a .312 batting average.  Hitting in the middle of the order, Goldstein was Hartleb’s go-to guy for driving in runs.  He led the Illini with 28 rbis. 

 

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Cole Bellair was chosen for the 2016 All-Big Ten Freshman team.  After several successful outings from the bullpen, Bellair was called on by Coach Hartleb to be the Sunday starter.  Cole responded well though sometimes he didn’t always get offensive support he deserved.  He ended the season with a 3.34 ERA, fourth on the team. 

 

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Senior reliever J.D. Nielsen was nominated as the Illinois Sportsman Award honoree.  At 5-1 with a 3.60 ERA (and a quite unorthodox delivery), the Winterset, Iowa native was a reliable option out of the bullpen when games were close.  Nielsen finished his career with 79 appearances for the Illini.  That ranks him a cool third all-time among all Illinois pitchers.

Congratulations to Cody, Jason, Cole, and J.D.!! 


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No tourney but Illinois baseball ends 2016 on winning note

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Illinois won their last two games against Michigan but it just wasn’t enough.  Going into the last game, their fate was in the hands of Michigan State and the Spartans let them down.  As a result, Illinois will not be going to the Big Ten Baseball Tournament next week.  This will be only the third time that Coach Hartleb will not be advancing to the tournament in his eleven-year tenure. 

Iowa snuck into the Tournament as the 8th seed.  They will be joining Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Maryland and Michigan State in Omaha next Wednesday to begin a new chapter in the 2016 season. 

 

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It was Senior Day on Saturday.  As an alum, I know graduating from the University of Illinois is a significant event. Congrats to Nick Blackburn, Jason Goldstein, Michael Hurwitz, Andrew Mamlic, Charlie Naso, and J.D. Nielsen.  Volunteer Coach Kyle Hudson (above with his family) was also recognized for returning and getting his degree. 

The attendance on Saturday’s game was a healthy 2,007.  That’s pretty good considering the students have gone home after the semester.  In fact, the Illini have just announced that 2016 is the second best year for attendance.  More than 23,000 fans attended games in 2016.  Not too surprisingly, last year’s season was record breaking as far as attendance not too mention in other areas as well. 

At this point, it seems a bit superfluous but here are the recaps for the games this past weekend….

 

Game #49 / May 19, 2016    
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Draft prospect Cody Sedlock pitched what for some could have been a career game on Thursday night.  In a complete game, he gave up just three hits.  Unfortunately, one of those hits was a solo homerun to Johnny Slater, his first of the year.  The Illini offense couldn’t get anything going and the 1-0 was the final score. 

Sedlock has pitched nine or more innings for four of the last five games.  That’s a stat that the scouts are definitely paying attention. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Photos from Thursday

 

Random Ramblings

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The mood on the field after the game was a little emotional especially for those seniors who would not be returning next season like Michael Hurwitz and Jason Goldstein.

 

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That’s not to say some didn’t get a little goofy as well. 

 

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Those of you at Saturday’s game may have seen these guys rooting for Dan Rowbottom.  They were wildly pantomiming rowing a boat and shouting “Row, Row, Row!” whenever Dan was up to bat.  It wasn’t long before other fans joined in too. 

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I think this fan participation is awesome. I hope these guys come back next season and start this up.  I spoke to Dan after the game and he was definitely appreciative of support. 

Thanks, Illini!


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One last hurdle: Illinois hosts Michigan starting Thursday

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Pat McInerney leads the Illini with six homers

It’s down to the last three games.  With a home series against Michigan (34-17, 12-8 Big Ten), ninth-place Illinois (26-22, 10-11 Big Ten) needs to make up at least one spot in the standings in order to obtain a bid to participate in the Big Ten Tournament which starts next week.

Sounds easy?  Let’s take a look.

Out of the thirteen teams in the Big Ten, six already know what they’re doing next week.  Northwestern and Purdue are already out of contention.  Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio State and Nebraska have clinched and no matter how they perform, they will be going to Omaha.

Seven teams are left in contention for the remaining four spots.  They are Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa, Rutgers.  FightingIllini.com has worked out all the scenarios (and they are plenty) so we don’t have to.


It goes without saying that winning is better than losing but it’s worth repeating.  Winning two games this weekend certainly won’t be a sure thing (see the graphic above) but it is a whole lot better than just one.  

I’m sure the players are doing their best to ignore the standings and just trying to concentrate on Thursday’s game.  There is a reason for the cliché, “Taking it one game at a time”. 

 

Illini players to keep an “I” on

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  • New single season strikeout record holder Cody Sedlock (109 Ks!).
  • Dan Rowbottom (above) who is currently the 10th toughest hitter in the nation to strike out.  Only 8 Ks in 150 at-bats!
  • All of the graduating Illini seniors!  Congrats to all of you!

Fighting Illini weekend preview

 

Pitcher probables

Coach Hartleb is sticking with Andrew Mamlic this series.  He’ll be on the mound for Saturday’s game.  Thursday starter Cody Sedlock will try to add more to his record-breaking 109 strikeouts. 

  • Thursday  Cody Sedlock: 2.63 ERA
  • Saturday  Doug Hayes: 6-5, 3.12 ERA
  • Sunday  Andrew Mamlic: 4-7, 3.95 ERA

Don’t forget… this weekend starts early.  first game starts on Thursday.  Also, there has been a time change for Saturday’s game.  First pitch is at 3:30pm.

 

Illinois Field
Champaign, Illinois
Thu. May 19

6:00 pm CT

Fri. May 20

6:00 pm CT

Sat. May 21

3:30 pm CT

vs

Michigan Wolverines

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W-L: 34-17,  12-8 Big 10

 

My take on Michigan:

Michigan has done well out of the gate.  They won their first five games of the season then added a nine-game winning streak at the beginning of April.  A couple weeks later, they had another seven-game streak.  The good news for the Illini?  Big Blue has lost their last five including a sweep by Ohio State. 

Michigan has won twice as many games as they’ve lost and they can thank their offense.  They have scored 340 runs with a .310 batting average.  Leading the way is Harrison Wenson with his 7 homeruns and 54 rbis and Cody Bruder who is hitting  .382 for the season. 

Quick take:  Time for our offense to feast on their lefty pitching. 

 

Random Ramblings

Interesting stat here.  In Cody Sedlock’s last seven starts, Illinois is 5-2 however he has only been awarded one of those wins.  Sedlock has been phenomenal in this stretch but the offense hasn’t always been there.  The relief staff have picked up the wins in the other games, two of them in extra innings. 

One hitter who HAS been there is Pat McInerney.  He now leads the team with six homers.  Not only that but some of his dingers have been long bombs.  Like this one against Indiana last weekend. 

Need a couple more this weekend, Pat.

 

Fan Overview

C-U fans, get out to the park!  Lots of baseball fun!  The last set of baseball cards will be given away on Thursday.  A coozie giveaway on Friday!  They will be doing a Spring Cleaning then too, giving away promotional items from years past (that sounds fun to me!).

Finally, Saturday is Senior Day which is always a special day recognizing all of the outgoing seniors on the team. Sullivan-Parkhill will be giving away Rally towels.  Hope we don’t need them!

Live video from FightingIllini.com on Thursday and Friday while BTN live streams it on Saturday.  Dave Loane is your guy at the mike on WDWS AM-1400 and Fighting Illini Sports Network.  There’s always @illinoisbaseball on Twitter with the witty updates or the live stats from FightingIllini.com.

Go Illini!!    


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Series loss to Indiana forces Illinois’ hand

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Down to the wire for Coach Hartleb

One step forward.  Two steps back.

That’s the story of Illinois baseball as they enter the last regulation series of the season this weekend against Michigan.  One week after they defeated Maryland two games to one, they lost two of three to first place Indiana despite a formidable appearance (again) by Cody Sedlock on Friday.  Sedlock struck out 12 batters in 9 1/3 innings and kept it close as the Illini won a close one 2-1 in extras.

Sedlock didn’t get the win but his 12 strikeouts broke the team’s single season strikeout record.  His 109 Ks broke John Ericks’ record of 108.  Of course, Sedlock still has at least one start left.  FightingIllini.com has listed the accomplishments of Sedlock this season and they are many.

Despite some good pitching (combined seven runs allowed), the Illini offense couldn’t come up with enough runs against Indiana to win either Saturday or Sunday.   That gives Illinois a 26-22 overall record and more importantly, a 10-11 conference mark.  That puts them back in ninth place and not an ideal spot.  Eighth place or higher is where you need to be to advance to the Big Ten Tournament.

So what do the Illini need to do to advance?  The interns at FightingIllini.com have crunched the numbers and have provided us all of the viable scenarios.  The simple scenarios?  If Illinois wins all three, they’re Omaha-bound.  If they lose all three, they’re watching from home.  Any other scenario, it’s a little more complicated.

Game #46 / May 13, 2016
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There were some who thought Cody Sedlock was in line for another Big Ten Pitcher of Week award after this performance.  His 9 1/3 inning performance didn’t get the win but with 12 strikeouts while giving up just one run, he kept the Illini in it.

Pat McInerney blasted a homerun early in the game and Michael Hurwitz drove home Trent Hammond in the top of the 11th for the winning run.  Amongst the hoopla surrounding Cody Sedlock, Coach Hartleb took the time to recognize Hammond’s “at-bat of the game” in which he fouled off pitches until he drew that 11th inning walk.

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Random Ramblings

If you haven’t noticed, Tyler Jay is having a pretty decent spring for Class A Advanced Fort Myers.  Tyler has won his last two starts for the Miracle and struck out 13 batters in his last 13 1/3 innings.

Here he is getting interviewed by the Fort Myers Miracle PR guy:

Speaking of Andrew Mamlic, he leads the team with seven losses.  Don’t for a minute think that’s indicative of his performance though.  He’s been a hard luck pitcher this season with a respectable 3.95 ERA.

Michael Hurwitz had a great run.  After 26 straight games of getting on base, Indiana finally got to him.

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Mike Sterk

Finally, long time Illini baseball fans will remember relief pitcher Mike Sterk who pitched for Illinois from 2006-2009.  Well, Mike has traded his glove in for a keyboard.  He now blogs as “barstoolcarl” at barstoolsports.com as has been quite successful.

In fact, his latest column got  Cub pitcher Jake Arrieta’s attention.   Mike even went on the radio show 670 the Score to talk about it.  You can hear the show here.

Next up

Don’t forget… the series against Michigan starts on Thursday.  6pm is the start time.

Go Illini!


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Illinois hurlers to be tested by first place Hoosiers

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Cody Sedlock

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Doug Hayes

With Illinois baseball’s tournament chances teetering on the fence, they travel to Bloomington, Indiana this weekend to play their last road series of the season.  It will be a tough challenge for Illinois (25-20, 9-9 Big Ten) as they take on the first place Indiana Hoosiers (29-17, 13-5 Big Ten) who have found momentum lately.

The good news?  So have the Illini.  The Illinois pitching staff own the last three Big Ten Pitcher of the Week awards.  Cody Sedlock and Doug Hayes have new hardware on their mantles and they have the chance to prove themselves against the Hoosiers.

Just one game separates ninth place Illinois from Ohio State, Maryland, and Penn State who are all tied for the coveted eighth place which qualifies for the Big Ten Tournament which starts on May 25 in Omaha.

Illini players to keep an “I” on

  • Cody Sedlock and Doug Hayes who combined, have won the last three Big Ten Pitcher of the Week awards.
  • Cody Sedlock (yes, his name deserves repeating) who is on the verge of breaking John Erick’s single-season team record for strikeouts.  He just needs 11 more.
  • Michael Hurwitz who has not only extended his on-base streak to 24 games but has also started another hit streak of five games to go with his earlier one of 15 games.

Fighting Illini weekend preview

Pitcher probables

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Andrew Mamlic gets another shot

What’s this?  A change in the weekend rotation?  Coach Hartleb is obviously going with Cody Sedlock and Doug Hayes who have won conference awards in the recent past but there’s a switch for Sunday’s assignment.  Andrew Mamlic is back in the starting role again.  Mamlic has done well in his midweek starts lately which probably prompted Hartleb to give him another try down the stretch.

  • Friday  Cody Sedlock: 5-2, 2.82 ERA
  • Saturday  Doug Hayes: 6-4, 3.01 ERA
  • Sunday  Andrew Mamlic: 4-6, 3.75 ERA

 

Bert Kaufman Field
Bloomington, Indiana

Fri. May 13

5:05 pm CT

Sat. May 14

1:05 pm CT

Sat. May 15

12:05 pm CT

vs

Indiana Hoosiers

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W-L: 29-17,  13-5 Big 10

 

My take on the Hoosiers:

Make no mistake, there is no team in the Big Ten with more momentum than Indiana right now.

Last weekend, the Hoosiers took first place for themselves after defeating tough Minnesota who are now in second place.  On top of that, they just won an exciting non-conference game against Kentucky on a walk-off hit.  That all adds up to a first place spot in the Big Ten and players who are confident as heck.

The upside for Illinois?  As hyped as Indiana’s baseball team is, their overall record is only lightly better than Illinois’.

Quick take:  Can two B1G PoW winners shut down the Hoosier offense?  Let’s hope for a nice 2-1 weekend like last time.

 

Random Ramblings

Get ready for next weekend’s home series against Michigan.  It will be the last regular season series of the season.  With any luck, it will be a meaningful one, deciding if the Illini will go on the Big Ten Tournament.

Heads up!  The series against Michigan will take place on Thursday-Friday-Saturday to accommodate the tournament schedule the week after!

 

Fun stats:  Cody Sedlock is seventh in the Big Ten among qualifiers with a 2.82 ERA.  Look just a little deeper and Doug Hayes is only 11th in the conference with a 3.01 mark.

Probably the most impressive stat is Sedlock’s touted strikeout total of 97.  He not only leads the conference but he does it by a margin of 13 over the next highest (84 by Dalton Sawyer of Minnesota).  I mentioned earlier that Sedlock is on the cusp of breaking the single-season record for strikeouts this year.  If all goes well this Friday, he may also break Marv Rotblatt’s team record for strikeouts in the conference season.  He just needs six strikeouts to surpass Rotblatt’s record of 61.

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Finally, Michael Hurwitz has played in 44 games so far in 2016.  He has reached base in all but three.

Fan Overview

You know, Bloomington is only an hour or two away from Champaign.  Part of me is thinking “road trip”.  If I don’t go, there are plenty of ways to follow the game, though.

BTN Plus has a video stream if I want to shell out a few bucks.  I always enjoy listenign to Dave Loane and Co. on WDWS AM1400 or the Fighting Illini Sports Network.

As always, there is live stats from IUHoosiers.com and Twitter updates from @illinoisbaseball.

Go Illini!!    


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Illinois wins Terp series, inches toward tourney bid

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Cody Sedlock: pitching the Illini to success

Three games, two wins.  Now the Illini have an improved conference record of 9-9. Movin’ on up!

Illinois (25-20, 9-9 Big Ten) comes home from Maryland (25-21, 10-8 Big Ten) with a big series win.  It was a low scoring weekend.  Illinois scored 10 runs in the three games, Maryland scored 9. Illinois had some timely hitting and pitching and that made all the difference.

So what does the series win mean for Illinois’ chances at the Big Ten Tournament?  Here are the current standings in the Big Ten.  While the Illini are still in ninth place, they have closed the gap a little.  They are only one game behind three teams (Ohio State, Maryland, and Penn State) who are 10-8.  In addition, Illinois is trying to distance themselves from 10th place Iowa who is 8-10. 

Long story short:  It’s getting kind of cozy in the middle of the standings now.  Only two games separate sixth place and 10th place right now. 

Regardless, this series win was really important for the Illini right now.

Major highlights

  • Cody Sedlock retires last 22 batters in a row in Game 1 on Saturday.
  • Jason Goldstein clinches the series with a game-winning rbi in top of the ninth on Sunday.
  • Michael Hurwitz extends his on-base streak to 24 games.

 

Game #43 / May 7, 2016    
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20160504-IMG_6025Cody Sedlock was back on track on Saturday’s game which was postponed from Friday due to weather.  Not only did he get the win at College Park but he retired the last last 22 batters in the 4-2 Illini win.  In all, he gave up just three hits in the complete game, giving up two runs, one earned. 

Dan Rowbottom (above) continued on his hot streak.  Rowbottom racked up two more hits and two ribbies.  That gave him six hits and seven rbis in the last three games. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Random Ramblings

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Tanner Roark in his Illini days

Whenever former Illini Tanner Roark comes to Wrigley to pitch, I get a tad conflicted as a Cub fan.  I of course, want him to well but not at the expense of the Cubs.  Well today, Roark pitched for the Nationals against the Cubs and the result was about as perfect as I could expect.  Roark pitched brilliantly, allowing just four hits and no earned runs while striking out seven in six innings.  Yet the Cubs won the game 4-3 on a walk-off homer by Javy Baez. 

I’m sure Roark isn’t happy about the outcome but as an Illini fan, I like to see him do well regardless. 

Next up

No midweek games and the Illini are off to another away series next weekend.  They play tough Indiana who are now 13-5 in the conference.  First pitch is at 5:05 pm in Bloomington. 

Go Illini!


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Entering the homestretch: Illinois travels to Maryland

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Dan Rowbottom celebrates after scoring on an error after his 3-run double on Wednesday against the Salukis

As the Big Ten season enters the homestretch, Illinois is in need of some wins if it wishes to gain a Big Ten Baseball Tournament bid.  With three conference weekends left, they have a 7-8 Big Ten record (23-19 overall) and currently are in ninth place.  They need to place eighth or higher to get that tourney bid. 

Their first challenge this weekend is an away series at College Park, Maryland against the tough Terrapins. Maryland is currently 9-6 which puts them at fifth place in the conference.  

Midweek Game Update

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Rowbottom knocks in the winning runs in Wednesday’s win

Illinois is coming off two big midweek wins.  Andrew Mamlic’s tough pitching and homers by Pat McInerney and Jack Yalowitz helped the Illini claim Bragging Rights against Missouri with a 6-4 win on Tuesday in Sauget, Illinois. 

On Wednesday, they defeated the Salukis of Southern Illinois 6-3 on a key 3-run double by Dan Rowbottom in which he scored on a throwing error.  Here are some photos from the Illini-SIU game on Wednesday

Illini players to keep an “I” on

 

  • Dan Rowbottom coming off his four-rbi performance on Wednesday
  • Doug Hayes who became the second Illini in two weeks honored with the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award
  • Michael Hurwitz who despite having his 15-game hit streak snapped, still has a 21-game on-base streak going

Fighting Illini weekend preview

 

Pitcher probables:  Doug Hayes will look to repeat.  Cole Bellair, who had an atypical rough outing last Sunday, will not.  As for Cody Sedlock, the offense just needs to give him a little support and we should be golden.

  • Friday  Cody Sedlock: 4-2, 3.04 ERA
  • Saturday  Doug Hayes 6-3, 2.93 ERA
  • Sunday  Cole Bellair: 2-3, 3.52 ERA

    


Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium

 
College Park, Maryland

Fri. May 6

5:30 pm CT

Sat. May 7

1:00 pm CT

Sat. May 8

11:00 am CT

vs

Maryland Terrapins

maryland

W-L: 24-19,  9-6 Big 10

My take on the Terrapins:

Like the Illini, the Maryland Terrapins went to the Regionals in 2015 so coming into the 2016 season, they is a bit of fear factor with them.  This year, the Terps are little less threatening but they haven’t done badly either.  With an overall 24-19 record and a 9-6 conference record, they are currently in fifth place and poised to make the Big Ten tournament unless a breakdown happens. 

One reason why the Terps are doing so well is Mike Shawaryn.  He holds the all-time Maryland record for strikeouts.  The matchup between him and Cody Sedlock on Friday will be one that many around the country will be paying attention. 

Quick take:  Despite W-L records, I think Illinois has a good chance to make up ground here. 

 

Random Ramblings

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Take another look at the Big Ten standings.  Things may not be as bleak for the Illini as others are making it out to be.  The biggest hurdle is not the standings per se.  The Illini are tied for ninth with Iowa and they need to be in top eight to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament which begins on May 25th in Omaha, Nebraska. 

No, the biggest challenge to overcome are the teams that Illinois will be playing from here on out.  After this weekend’s Maryland matchup (a formidable one but one I think Illinois can handle), it only gets tougher.  Indiana at Bloomington is next and after that comes ranked Michigan.  Indiana is second in the Big Ten with a 11-4 conference record and Michigan has a 9-5 mark.  Both are very solid teams.  Illinois’ saving grace is that they end their regular season at home against Michigan. 

Can it be done?  I think so.  If they could get lucky against both Maryland and Michigan as well as holding their own against Indiana, a tourney bid might be in the cards. 

Fan Overview

You won’t find Illinois traveling any further East for a Big Ten game than this.  All three games will be streamed on BTNPlus.com.  Dave Loane’s smooth and silky voice will grace AM-1400 WDWS airwaves and on FightingIllini.com 

If nothing else, you can follow online with live stats from UMDTerps.com

Go Illini!!    


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Illinois manage one win against #19 Minnesota this weekend

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Doug Hayes shuts down the #19 Gophers Friday night

With a 14-6 drubbing by the Minnesota Golden Gophers (27-13, 11-3 Big Ten) on Sunday, Illinois (21-19, 7-8 Big Ten) lost the home series 1-2.  With the series over, Illinois slips to ninth place while Ohio State moves ahead of them again. 

Here are the current Big Ten standings

The Illini can thank starter Doug Hayes for mitigating the damage.  He provided the sole win with a shutout on Friday night.  A little credit goes to Trent Hammond who drove in both runs that night.

Major highlights

  • Doug Hayes pitches his career first shutout on Friday night.
  • Cody Sedlock moved into Illinois’ single season top 10 in strikeouts with 90
  • Michael Hurwitz extended his hit streak 15 games and still has a 19-game on-base streak

 

Game #38 / April 29, 2016    
Minnesota vs

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Dan Rowbottom drives in the sole run in Game 1 on Friday

Well, Cody Sedlock didn’t pitch 10 innings nor did he strike out 14 batters.  All in all, he didn’t pitch badly either though (three runs and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.  However, his performance was not enough as the Illini offense only came through with one run. 

Dan Rowbottom came though with the sole rbi in the fourth inning with a base hit to tie the game 1-1. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

My photos from Friday’s first game

Random Ramblings

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I don’t know about you but I think one of the biggest stars at Illinois Field is the new batboy.  I don’t know who he is but he sure does his work diligently and seems to love being on the job. 

The players seem to really get along with him and I’ve even seen him get into conversations with the umps. 

Keep up the good work, kid!

Next up

There are two midweek games this week.  Illinois travels to Sauget, Illinois to play Missouri on Tuesday.  First pitch is at 6pm.  On Wednesday, Southern Illinois visits Illinois Field for an afternoon game at 3:30pm. 

Go Illini!


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Illinois take on first place Minnesota Golden Gophers at home

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Cody Sedlock lets one go during last Friday’s game

Coming off a big 2-1 series win off Ohio State, Illinois (20-17, 6-6 Big Ten) hosts the Minnesota Golden Gophers (25-12, 9-2 Big Ten) for three games at Illinois Field.  Both teams have done well lately winning eight of their last ten games.  Minnesota is currently in first place in the Big Ten standings and is ranked #19 nationally.  On the other hand, Illinois is climbing in the standings.  After their series win last weekend, they are currently in eighth place with a 6-6 conference record. 

Note: Due to impending weather, there has been a schedule change.  There will be a doubleheader on Friday starting at 4pm.  More details here

Illini players to keep an “I” on

 

  • NCWBA Pitcher of the Week Cody Sedlock coming off his historic performance last Friday
  • Michael Hurwitz has extended his hitting streak to 13 games
  • Jason Goldstein is now 13th in the Big Ten with a .342 batting average

Fighting Illini weekend preview

 

Pitcher probables:  Lots of eyes will be on National College Pitcher of the Week Cody Sedlock this Friday.  Just relax and pitch a solid game for the win, Cody.  No need to go into extras!  Doug Hayes will try to rebound for a W in the second game on Friday.  Cole Bellair will try to win his third game in as many weeks. 

  • Friday  Cody Sedlock: 4-1, 2.94 ERA
  • Friday Game 2  Doug Hayes 5-3, 3.36 ERA
  • Saturday  Cole Bellair: 2-2, 2.79 ERA

    


Illinois Field

 
Champaign, Illinois

Fri. April 29

4:00 pm CT

8:00 pm CT

Sat. April 30

TBA 

vs

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota

W-L: 25-12,  9-2 Big 10

My take on the Golden Gophers:

Funny thing about the Gophers… they are ranked #19 in the nation and first in the Big Ten standings yet their overall record of 25-12 isn’t much different than the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Yes, the same Buckeyes who we went 2-1 against last weekend.  Further, Minnesota and Illinois are both 8-2 in their last 10 games. 

That said, the Golden Gophers can hit well.  They have a .324 team batting average led by Austin Athmann’s .396 mark.  Minnesota’s pitching (3.89 ERA) is on par with Illinois’ (3.68 ERA)  though our starters definitely  have the edge. 

Minnesota’s third starter Toby Anderson is 5-0 with a 3.74 ERA.  Be nice to give him his first loss. 

Quick take:  Don’t give them anything east to hit and let’s score as early as we can. 

Minnesota’s weekend preview against the Illini

Random Ramblings

IMG_2868It wasn’t long after Cody Sedlock’s Friday night performance when believe it or not, there were those detractors on social media.  One in particular is ESPN’s Keith Law who tweeted, “Legit first round prospect getting overused as we speak”.  I’m not going to link to Law’s tweet.  He doesn’t need the attention.  You can read about it at the News Gazette though

Now Keith Law is no stranger to controversy and it isn’t the first time he’s questioned Hartleb’s coaching strategy.  Last year, he took Coach Hartleb to task about his use of Tyler Jay.   

Well, things turned out pretty well so far for Tyler Jay who was drafted in the first round in 2015.  As for Cody Sedlock, his 10 2/3 inning shutout performance garnered enough attention to be awarded the National College Baseball Writers Associations’ National Pitcher of the Week. 

Mr. Law, maybe it’s time to get back to beat writing. 

Fan Overview

The schedule change is worth mentioning again.  Due to the weather, there will be two games on Friday night starting at 4pm.  Keep an eye on @IllinoisBaseball or the Illinois Baseball website for potential schedule announcements for the third game. 

The Big Ten Network will be out in full force to broadcast the 8pm game so expect some extra hoopla.  FightingIllini.com will be broadcasting the 4pm game.  Dave Loane and his voice of gold will be at the mike this weekend.  You can hear him broadcast on live audio or on the AM-1400 WDWS airwaves. 

Go Illini!!    


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Series win over Buckeyes moves Illinois up in the conference standings

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For the second weekend in a row, we had beautiful weather for baseball all three days.  After a marathon 15-inning 1-0 win by Illinois (20-17, 6-6 Big Ten) on Friday night featuring a historical performance by Cody Sedlock, Ohio State (25-14-1, 5-7 Big Ten) came back to win on Saturday. 

However, Illinois won the rubber game on Sunday behind the strong pitching of Cole Bellair and a key hit by Jack Yalowitz.  With the series win, Illinois is now 6-6 in conference play and now holds eighth place to themselves in the Big Ten. 

Major highlights

  • Cody Sedlock pitched 10 2/3 innings of shutout ball with 14 Ks on Friday
  • Cole Bellair earns his second win after winning his first win last weekend
  • Michael Hurwitz’ hit streak is now up to 13 games, tied with B1G batting lead in conference play with .404 mark

 

Game #35 / April 22, 2016    
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Cody Sedlock:  practically unhittable

Friday night was all about Cody Sedlock.  I have never seen a pitcher on his game like I did Cody.  He struck the first three batters in the first inning and seven batters in the first three innings.  I was watching his pitch speeds in the 10th inning.  Sedlock was still consistently reaching 92-95 mph on each pitch. 

All told, you will never see a performance like this one.  The numbers on Sedlock Friday night: 

10 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K

You gotta give the Buckeye starter Tanner Tully a little credit too.  He kept the Illini bats silent for nine innings too.  In fact, for 14 and half innings, the Illinois Field scoreboard showed nothing but goose eggs.  It wasn’t until Jack Yalowitz scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 15th did the Illini go home winners. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

My photos from Friday night

Random Ramblings

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Ok, I called it, didn’t I?  In last week’s weekend preview, I predicted that Illinois would have its first Big Ten Player, Pitcher or Freshman of the Week of the 2016 season.  Well, not only was Cody Sedlock honored with the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week but he was also named the National Pitcher of the Week chosen by the NCBWA.  Sedlock is the first Illini pitcher to ever receive this award.  Congrats Cody! 

 

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While we’re on the topic of awards, the list of athletes up for the Senior CLASS Award is down to 10.  It turns out that Illinois catcher Jason Goldstein is on that list.  Industrial Engineering major Goldstein is hitting .342 with four homers and 24 rbis. 

Senior second baseman Michael Hurwitz is really, really hot now.  He has a 13-game hit streak going and his .404 batting average is tied for first the Big Ten in conference play.

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On a lighter note, my friend Robin told me to take a look at Pat McInerney over at first base as the pitch is thrown.  Sure enough, Pat does a little hop at the same moment the pitch is thrown.  You can see Pat getting some air time in the photo above. 

Superstition?  Habit?  Who knows?  It is fun to watch though.

Next up

No midweek game this week.  This weekend though, the Golden Gophers of Minnesota come to Illinois Field.  Make note that it will be a late game on Friday at 8pm due being televised on Big Ten Network.

Go Illini!


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