Midweek Preview: We have two home games to help us prepare for the homestretch

 nwwildcatsfri 229

Craig Lutes heads towards first after hitting the ball Friday night

We’re winding down the season with six more home games left.  We’re fortunate to have two midweek games at home this week though.  And whenever Coach Hartleb’s alum comes to town, that gives the media another storyline to talk about.

Let’s take a look…

 

 

Southern Illinois Salukis

May 4, 2010 6:05 pm ct
Illinois Field Champaign, IL
Program website link Record 22-22 (Missouri Valley 6-8)
Head Coach: Dan Callahan Key player: Chris Serritella

Chris Serritella continues to hit the ball.  He’s second in the Missouri Valley Conference in homeruns (12) as well as rbis (51).  He hits for average, too (.376).

Coach Hartleb’s alum is 22-22, 6-8 in the MVC and pretty much in the middle of the pack in the conference.  We beat them last month 5-4 at Rent One Park but it wasn’t a cakewalk so let’s be careful, Illini.

Butler Bulldogs

May 5, 2010 6:05 pm ct
Illinois Field Champaign, IL
Program website link Record 15-22 (Horizon 6-10)
Head Coach: Steve Farley Key player: Grant Fillipitch

Thirdbaseman Grant Fillipitch is a one-man hitting machine.  It’s one of those situations where one player leads the team in every category.  In Butler’s case, it’s Fillipitch.  He leads the Bulldogs in hitting (.359), homeruns (6), runs (36), and slugging (.556).  He’s second on the team in rbis with 34.  Outfielder Kevin Crane has the top mark in that category with 39. 

The streaky Bulldogs are 15-22 but like a lot of teams we’ve played lately, they’ve gotten hot lately.  They’ve won seven of their last nine games.  In four of those wins, they scored in the double digits so they can produce offensively.

 

Random Ramblings

The current standings in the Big Ten:

 

Team Record Pct. Record Pct.
1. Michigan 9-6 .600 27-15 .643
Northwestern 9-6 .600 18-25 .419
3. Ohio State 8-7 .533 24-15 .615
Purdue 8-7 .533 26-17 .605
Minnesota 8-7 .533 19-25 .432
6. Michigan State 7-8 .467 28-14 .667
Indiana 7-8 .467 21-21 .500
Penn State 7-8 .467 20-23 .465
9. Illinois 6-9 .400 20-20 .500
Iowa 6-9 .400 18-24 .429

Ouch.

Going on memory, I believe we’ve gone 1-2 against every conference team since our opening series against Penn State (double-checking this, yep, I’m right).  Last place is not where we want to be in May. 

The good news?  We have three series left to make up ground.  Plus, 6-9 may be in last place but it’s only three games out of first place and one game out of a Big Ten Tournament qualifying spot.  Such a strange Big Ten season this is.

The bad news?  We’re going to have to play Ohio State (and for that matter Purdue and Indiana too).  Two of those series will be on the road, as well. 

The Daily Illini has a piece in yesterday’s paper.  The team is “searching for answers”.  I guess that sums it up.

Nothing is insurmountable.  I’ve seen Illinois come back from farther back.  But their work is cut out for them. 

 

…and a few quick facts about Volunteer Assistant Coach Jeff Thomas (because I didn’t know much about him before writing this)

  • nwwildcatsfri 220 pitched for the Baylor Bears in 1992-93
  • played professional ball between 1995-2001 (here are his stats if you are interested)
  • managed a baseball academy in Temple, Texas where current MLB pitcher Zach Duke enrolled

Good luck this week, Illini!!


Tags: , , , , ,

Related posts

Leave a Reply