Illinois baseball defeat Lindenwood-Belleville 7-1

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Adam Walton drives in a run with a double in the sixth inning today

In a game scheduled just two days ago, Illinois defeated the Lindenwood University-Belleville Lynx 7-1 at Illinois Field on Wednesday.  It was a team effort as the Illini used 23 players including five pitchers. 

This gives Illinois a 15-4-1 record for the 2015 season. 

 

Game #20 / March 18 , 2015    
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After today’s win, Cody Sedlock is now 3-0

Five Illini pitchers combined for a season-high 13 strikeouts including five by J.D. Nielsen and four by Nick Blackburn.  Cody Sedlock who pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings.  He got the win and upped his record to 3-0.  He is now second on the team in wins to Tyler Jay.    IMG_2600

Pat McInerney got Illinois off to the right start by driving home Ryan Nagle in the first.  The LU-B Lynx retaliated in the third with a run of their own.  In the bottom of the third, the good guys took the lead for good with three run with a key 2-run hit by Casey Fletcher. 

Illinois solidified their lead in the sixth by adding on three more runs.  Will Krug (right) who was back in the lineup, proved he wants to stay there by doubling home a run.  Adam Walton who was 2 for 4, doubled home Krug.  Pinch hitter Dan Rowbottom then drove home Walton for his first career rbi. 

 

 

Random Ramblings

More photos from today here. 

From my vantage point, I’ve never seen Nick Blackburn pitch so well.  He was 1-2-3 for the 8th and the 9th with four strikeouts. 

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Dan Rowbottom sees some action in left field

The Hartleb Nine was quite different than what we’re used to by the end of the game.  From left to right, Illinois had Dan Rowbottom, Josh Ferry and Trevor Murphy.  At first, we saw Anthony Drago.  Catching was Kelly Norris-Jones and at third, it was Matthew James.  A few of the faithful fans in the stands were definitely checking their rosters.  It was good to see, though.  Let’s keep everyone fresh. 

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Don’t tell me that this guy didn’t have a good view of the game.  He was one of the construction people working on the new video scoreboard.  It’s been progressing every time I see it. 

 

Next up

The Illini will be at home this coming Friday.  They’ll be hosting the University of South Florida Bulls at Illinois Field.  Friday’s game is at 4pm.

Another scheduling note:  The Northwestern series on April 3-5, originally scheduled to be played in Evanston, will be played here at Illinois Field


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Midweek game scheduled against Lindenwood-Belleville on Wednesday

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“Did you hear?  There’s a game on Wednesday!”

The Illinois baseball team just can’t wait till the weekend so they’ve scheduled a midweek game this week.  On Wednesday, March 18, they will host Lindenwood-Belleville at Illinois Field. The game will start at 4pm. 

The Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx of the Midwest conference are based out of Belleville, Illinois.  If you haven’t heard of them, it may be because this will be Illinois’ first matchup with them.  They are currently 7-12 in the 2015 season. 

Meanwhile, the #18 Illini (14-4-1) took advantage of the nice weather on Monday to get some practice in. 

See you at the ballpark!

[corrections made 3/17]


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After 3-1 week, Illinois Baseball is now #18

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Well, check this out.  The pollsters have seen to look beyond the loss to 2-12 SIU on Friday and focus on the fact that they have won every other game in the past week.  Some of the fans I talked to wondered if Friday’s 2-0 loss would affect Illinois’ ranking.  Apparently it didn’t.  The Illini upped their ranking in every major national poll.  The biggest news… D1Baseball now has placed Illinois at #18 (previously #19). 

Here is the full list of polls and where Illinois is placed:

 

National Poll

Illinois’ Ranking

Previous Ranking

NCBWA

27th

29th

D1Baseball.com

18th

19th

Collegiate Baseball

18th

18th

Baseball America

25th

25th

USA Today Coaches’ Poll

24th

25th

 

As you can see, Collegiate Baseball also ranked Illinois an equally high #18.  Watch out for the Indiana Hoosiers, though.  They have won a cool ten in a row including a sweep over tough Cal-State Fullerton.  They are beginning to creep up on Illinois in the rankings. 

Personally, I’m crediting the Hoosiers’ success to their new assistant coach, former Illini Shawn Roof but that’s just me. 


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Homers by McInerney, Fletcher and Kerian give Illini the edge over SIU

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Ryan Nagle and Jason Goldstein glad-hand David Kerian after his 2-run homer

For #19 Illinois, it was again a story of late inning heroics as both Casey Fletcher and David Kerian hit homeruns in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie with the Southern Illinois Salukis.  The Illini won Sunday’s game as well as the weekend series losing the match on Friday night. 

 

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John Kravetz pitched a fantastic game and even managed to lower his sub-2.00 ERA but it was Tyler Jay who came away with the win.  Jay now leads the team in wins (4-0) after pitching a perfect eighth and ninth innings today.  The win today gives the Illini a 14-4-1 record for the season. 

 

Game #19 / March 15 , 2015    
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Pat McInerney ties it up with a solo homer

After SIU took the lead in the top of third, the Illini got it back quickly on a Pat McInerney solo homerun in the bottom of the inning. 

Meanwhile, John Kravetz was on top of his game.  Coming in with a 1.98 ERA, he just allowed one run in seven innings and did not allow a walk.  In the eighth with the scored still 1-1, Tyler Jay came in to replace him. 

The Illini had their chances.  In the sixth, the SIU reliever pitched 13 balls in the stretch of 15 pitches, loading the bases with one out.  The double play is a pitcher’s best friend and unfortunately, that’s what happened to the Illini.

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Casey Fletcher’s game winner

The Illini got their comeuppance in the eighth inning though.   The score was still 1-1 and the Illini rallied with three runs on the backs of Casey Fletcher’s solo homerun and David Kerian’s two-run shot driving home Jason Goldstein.  It would have been four runs that inning but Pat McInerney was gunned down at the plate on Goldy’s hit to center despite a valiant attempt to slide around the tag.  Goldstein’s hit was ruled an error on the centerfielder. 

Tyler Jay’s two perfect innings today now makes it 22 1/3 scoreless innings on the season. 

 

 

Random Ramblings

More photos from today here. 

Reid Roper missed his first game of the season today due to a one-game suspension for yesterday’s incident.  I’m told that’s the automatic suspension for helmet throwing.  Today’s lineup featured Zack Kolakowski at second base as well as Matt James replacing Will Krug in the lineup.  Pat McInerney moved from DH to right field. 

It may have been rough having the best hitter on the bench but now that the Illini have won, it could be said that having some guys coming off the bench and getting some playing time is valuable.  Makes them a little less itchy. 

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Pat McInerney almost sneaks in

Speaking of Pat Mac, he’s really making a difference this year with some clutch hitting.  Today, he was 3 for 3 with a homerun.  His rbi today gives him 13 which is second only to the elder Roper. 

Next up

No midweek game this week but the Illini will be at home again this coming Friday.  They’ll be hosting the University of South Florida Bulls.  Friday’s game is at 4pm.


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Illinois baseball evens series up with SIU 6-2

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Third career complete game for Drasen Johnson

It was a strange game at times with two ejections and an oh-so-close homerun that was ruled a foul ball but in the end, the Illini (13-4-1) came out the victor.  Starter Drasen Johnson pitched a complete against the Southern Illinois Salukis (3-14) and the Illini offense came through with plenty of runs to win it 6-2 for Saturday’s game at Illinois Field. 

 

Game #18 / March 14 , 2015    
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Pat McInerney drove home two in the first inning with a double

It may have been foggy for Friday’s game against SIU but it was clear and sunny on Saturday.  The purpose was clear as well for the offense… score runs for Drasen Johnson.  They did just that as they came out of the gate with the bats ready.  The Illini scored three runs in the first inning, keyed by a Casey Fletcher rbi hit and a Pat McInerney two-run double. 

 

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Adam Walton brings his average up to .321 today

SIU managed to come within two as they score a run each in the second and the sixth.  Meanwhile, the Illini bats were quiet after the first and it seemed that Drasen Johnson may have to pitch his way through this game.  However, in the eighth, the Illini put together three hits and were helped by a Saluki error and a wild pitch.  In the end, they scored three more runs to give Johnson a more comfortable four-run lead.  Ryan Nagle, Jason Goldstein both had big rbi hits that inning and David Kerian drove home an insurance run with a grounder.

For the game, Ryan Nagle had three hits including a double.  Leadoff hitter Adam Walton went 2 for 4 with a double.  Johnson spread out 10 hits in nine innings for his third career complete game win with one walk and two strikeouts.  That makes him 2-1 for the season. 

 

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An umpire discusses the finer points of foul ball rules with Coach Dan Hartleb

In the seventh, there were two ejections.  In the same inning that the SIU manager Ken Henderson was ejected, Reid Roper hit a blast to the far right field corner.  Most everyone including Roper and Coach Hartleb, thought it was a four-bagger but it was ruled a foul ball.  The normally even-tempered Roper threw his helmet to the ground.  Perhaps he said a few things to the ump he shouldn’t have.  Regardless, he was ejected.  Fortunately, we didn’t need those runs. 

 

 

 

More of my photos from today’s game here in the Illinois Baseball Report Gallery

Now that I have some photos from the last few home games, I’ve changed the feed that points to the sidebar to right of this webpage.  You’ll start seeing photos of this year’s games now.  I’m also including photos of last Fall’s Orange and Blue Series and the Hot Stove banquet.  Feel free to click on any photo and you’ll be taken to the gallery it is in. 

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Kelly Norris-Jones got on base twice in his start today

It seems Coach Hartleb was trying to shake the lineup up a little bit.  He sat Will Krug and Jason Goldstein today.  Pat McInerney, the normal DH, played right and Matthew James took his place.  Casey Fletcher moved over to center.  Kelly Norris-Jones took a turn behind the plate.  Given the talents of Krug and Goldstein, I don’t think this is a permanent thing but it’s good to see James get some playing time.  He’s bulked up a little since last year (he’s one of three Illini with two homers this year) and when he’s played, he produces for the team.  As for Norris-Jones, no one handles the Illini pitching staff better than he does. 

Fortunately for Krug and Goldy, they both made it into the game. 

Next up

Sunday looks to be the rubber game between Illinois and Southern at Illinois Field.  Game time is 1pm.  John Kravetz is scheduled to be on the hill. 


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Illinois Baseball shut down by SIU 2-0

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The fog eventually lifted but the home fans’ spirits did not

There was something about the late afternoon fog that added to atmosphere of Friday’s game against the Southern Illinois Salukis (3-13).  It certainly didn’t bode well for the Illini as they were handed their first home loss by the Salukis 2-0.  It was the first time the Illini were shut out in the 2015 season.  

This puts Illinois at 12-4-1 and one game down in the three-game series against Southern. 

 

Game #17 / March 13 , 2015    
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As usual, the Illinois hurlers did their job.  Kevin Duchene did get into a bit of trouble in the second inning when he gave up a homerun followed by three base hits. That led to two Saluki runs.  Other than that, he pitched a masterful game.  The line on him… 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 9 K. 

IMG_1785Andrew Mamlic (right) did a marvelous job in relief.  He retired the first eight batters.  After two singles in the ninth, he struck out the last batter to get out of the jam.  In three scoreless innings, he struck four batters.

Somehow, the Illini offense just couldn’t get any runs across the plate.  They had a couple opportunities primarily in the fifth and the the eighth when they had runners in scoring position.  Both times they failed to capitalize and left two runners on. 

 

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Some exciting news!  If you look past the right field fence of Illinois Field, you’ll see some construction going on.  Rumor has it that we’re getting a video-capable scoreboard.  If we’re lucky, it will be operational by the first Big Ten home opener.

More of my photos from today’s game here in the Illinois Baseball Report Gallery.

Next up

Illinois will look for revenge tomorrow at Illinois Field.  Game time is 1pm and starter Drasen Johnson will entice the boys to score some runs. 


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Pitching rotations announced for Illinois series against SIU

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Pat McInerney drives in a run on Tuesday against Chicago State

Illinois Baseball’s preview is up now for this weekend’s series against Southern Illinois. 

It can’t be emphasized enough.  Our pitching rotation is so strong that we can’t find room for a pitcher of Rob McDonnell’s caliber.  McDonnell did a fine job pitching six shutout innings against Chicago State to lower his ERA to 1.46.  On the bump this weekend, it will be Kevin Duchene (2-0, 0.64) on Friday, Drasen Johnson (1-1, 1.67)  on Saturday and John Kravetz (1-0, 1-0, 1.98) finishing up on Sunday. 

Here are a couple things to look for this weekend…

Kravetz moving up

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John Kravetz has 20 career college wins which ties him with five other Illini pitchers for eighth place on the all-time list. A victory would put him alone at #7.  Here is the fine company that Mr. Kravetz currently keeps…

  • Kevin Johnson (2010-13) 20-17
  • Jason Wollard (1993-96) 20-8
  • Keith Toriani (1990-93) 20-12
  • Rich Capparelli (1986-89) 20-13
  • George MIlls (1930-32) 20-7

Leading the Illini in all-time wins are Mark Dressen and current pitching coach Drew Dickinson who both have 30 wins. 

 

Reversing the SIU/Illini record? 

I just noticed that SIU actually holds the series record against Illinois by a very slim margin.  Historically, they have a 33-31 won-loss record against the Illini now.  Wouldn’t be keen if the Illini swept the Salukis and reversed that trend? 

 

Offensive support for Drasen

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Reading the Fighting Illini weekend preview, I see that the PR team is not holding back when decrying the lack of offensive support that Drasen Johnson has gotten this year.  Each weekend, it’s gotten a little more pointed. 

Just like last year when he received 2.4 runs/game his quest for wins is pretty elusive  Aside from his second start when the Illini scored 10 runs on his behalf, the support has been eerily similar.  Johnson has allowed just seven runs in four starts and just one win to show for it. 

I’m keeping a positive outlook though.  I predict a show of support for Drasen this weekend. 

 

Tyler JayTyler Jay continues on

Will Tyler Jay will get a save… or maybe a win?  So far, he’s 3-0 with four saves on the season leading the team in both.  It almost seems inevitable. 

***

FYI for those driving to the game, the grass parking lot will be closed for the weekend.  According to the DIA:

Fans attending games at Illinois Field should park in either the Northeast State Farm Center quadrant or the parking lot at the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building (weekend only) with entrance off Fourth Street. Parking in the Ubben lot is unavailable until after 5 p.m.

See you at the ballpark!!


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Illini baseball host SIU Salukis this weekend

Kevin Duchene two  hit win Friday

Kevin Duchene goes for his third consecutive win this weekend

Illinois baseball (12-3-1) will treat the home fans to a three-game series against the Southern Illinois Salukis (2-13) this weekend.  Despite the near mirror won-loss record of each team, this is a rivalry matchup that usually ranks as one of the best series of year. 

Come out to the ballpark!  The weather is going to be great… well, mostly. 

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Illinois Field
 
Champaign, Illinois

Fri. March 13

4:00 pm CT

Sat. March 14

1:00 pm CT

Sat. March 15

1:00 pm CT

vs

Southern Illinois Salukis

SouthernIllinoisSalukis

2015 W-L: 2-13

A couple things you should know about the Southern Illinois Salukis:

coach hartlebOne, SIU is Coach Dan Hartleb’s alma mater.  He was the catcher of the Salukis back in his salad days and didn’t play too bad either, hitting .305.  Hartleb (right) went on to coach at SIU eventually becoming their head coach until Illinois smartly acquired him in 1991 as an assistant coach.

Two, historically, no matter how good or bad Illinois’ team is and no matter how good Southern’s team in any given year, the battles between these two teams are tough.  This year, Southern has had a particularly rough start (2-13, 43 total runs) while Illinois is experiencing a record breaking performances from many of their players.  At no point, am I going to even think that this series will be an easy one for Illinois. 

SIU will have something to prove and there is no better team to do it against than a team that they are already comfortable beating.  Remember, Illinois went 1-2 against them exactly one year ago. 

This may not seem like a motivational speech I’ll bet you a nickel that Coach Hartleb is saying something similar to the players in the clubhouse.  It is just to remind all that any team can beat another if the will is there.  This goes doubly so for an SIU/Illinois game. 

Random Ramblings

The Big Ten Network has released its schedule of broadcasted games.  Illinois will be featured in four of those games. 

  • Illinois vs. Purdue: Sunday, April 12 – Noon CT
  • Illinois vs. Purdue: Monday, April 13 – 6 p.m. CT
  • Illinois vs. Indiana: Sunday, April 19 – Noon CT
  • Illinois at Penn State: Sunday April 26 – Noon CT

Note that the game schedule has been altered slightly to accommodate the BTN broadcast.  The games against Purdue will be played on a Sat-Sun-Mon schedule.  The Illinois Baseball schedule has been updated to reflect the changes. 

***

If you haven’t already, check out the promotions planned for this baseball season.  Big on the list is the ever-popular Bleacher Bum BBQ on April 19th against Indiana.  The baseball cards which are always popular to collect, will be handed out at each Big Ten home weekend.  Also, Honor and Serve Day will be on May 10 vs Rutgers. 

Go Illini!! 


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Illinois baseball win home opener vs Chicago State 7-3

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Six shutout innings gets Rob McDonnell his first win

There’s always something special about the Illinois baseball home opener no matter what the weather.  While it was a little rainy at the start of the game against Chicago State, it was a balmy 47 degrees.  Not only that, by the time the game ended, the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds. 

The Illinois baseball players made it that much more special by giving the fans a win.  Behind the pitching of starter Rob McDonnell who gets his first win of the season and bats of Reid Roper and Pat McInerney, Illinois (12-3-1) defeated the Chicago State Cougars (2-12) by the score of 7-3. 

 

Game #16 / March 10 , 2015    
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Starting pitcher Rob McDonnell was on his game again.  The former Big Ten Pitcher of the Week didn’t give up a hit for the first three innings.  The Cougars finally got two safeties off of Big Bob in the fourth but overall he spread out five hits in six shutout innings.  The key to his success was his control.  He didn’t allow any walks in his start. 

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Pat McInerney drives in two runs with a double in the second

Reid Roper and Pat McInerney who have both had good seasons so far this season, contributed to today’s game.  Roper (3 for 4, 2 runs, 2 rbis) got the Illini off to a good start by driving home Casey Fletcher in the first inning.  The next inning, McInerney (2 for 3, 2 doubles, 3 rbis) drove home two runs with a double to left. 

The 7th inning probably wasn’t the best for the Illini.  Going in with a shutout, the Cougars managed to score.  However, it could have been a lot worse and the Illini have Casey Fletcher and Jason Goldstein to thank for that.  Two Chicago State baserunners were cut down at the plate that inning.  Mark that 9-2 if you’re scoring at home, folks. 

Overall, a good solid win for the Illini.  Chicago State did manage to get 12 hits in the game… the Illini hurlers managed to spread them out. 

 

Random Ramblings

More of my photos from today’s game here in the Illinois Baseball Report Gallery.

With his two rbis, Reid Roper reaches 15 for the season.  He’s now batting .393.  He leads the team in both categories.  I’ve always subscribed to the theory that those players who have good summer season will follow it up with a similarly good season for the Illini.  I know it’s early but so far, that seems to be the case for Roper, Kevin Duchene and Tyler Jay.

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It was great to see former Illini shortstop Josh Parr (above) in the crowd.  He and I chatted for a bit.  Josh is finishing up his degree at the University of Illinois in Communications and Religious Studies. 

Next up

Illinois will host the always tough Southern Illinois Salukis for a three-game series this weekend.  Game time on Friday is 4pm.


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Tyler Jay honored, Illinois sees rise in rankings

After a series win against a nationally ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys team last weekend, the Fighting Illini are reaping their rewards today.  That being in the form of a significant jump in many of the national polls out there

Here is a sample of the polling:

 

National Poll

Illinois’ Ranking

Previous Ranking

NCBWA

29th

NR

D1Baseball.com

19th

NR

Collegiate Baseball

22nd

27th

Baseball America

25th

NR

Illinois also received votes in the USA Today poll. 

 

I know the coaches and players don’t pay any mind to the polls but D1Baseball’s rise to #19 is quite significant in my opinion.  If anyone is wondering, #10 Oklahoma State fell out of Baseball America’s rankings after going 1-2 against Illinois this past weekend. 

Jay is running out room on his mantle

IMG_4621Tyler Jay was honored by the Big Ten for his performance against the Cowboys.  He was awarded with the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.  With one win and one save, Jay pitched a total of 7 2/3 scoreless innings over the past week while striking out eight batters.  As of today, Jay hasn’t given up a run in 20 1/3 innings this season.

It’s his first Big Ten honor but I have a feeling it won’t be his last.  Congrats, Tyler! 

Don’t forget, tomorrow is the first home game of the Illinois baseball season!  Come on out and enjoy some baseball!  Game time is 3pm. 


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