Illinois baseball turning over a new leaf against Sycamores

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What a weekend for Illini baseball!  A sweep of the Indiana State Sycamores is just what the team needed.  Not only did Illinois win all three games against the Sycamores (12-12) but they did it in style with a fantastic pitching performance from Ty Weber as well as some offensive heroics from Pat McInerney. 

Sunday’s win for Illinois gives the team a slightly more respectable 9-16 record for the year. 

A complete game performance by Ty Weber on Saturday garnered him a Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and Freshman of the Week award.  It was Weber’s first complete game of his career and the first of any Illini this year.  Weber improves to 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA for the season. 

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Pat McInerney homered in all three games against Indiana State.  Saturday’s dinger by McInerney was a walk-off to help Weber to his win.  On Sunday. his homer was no less important.  His second inning homer took the lead which the Illini would not relinquish. 

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Ty Weber’s complete game was probably a welcome relief to the Illinois bullpen.  The relievers have really made an about turn as of late and have become much more effective.  This past weekend, the bullpen pitched a total of ten innings while giving ip just two runs on four hits. 

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Joey Gerber (above) seems to be in the closer role for now.  He was two-for two in save situations.  Meanwhile, Quinten Sefcik (top) has a team leading three wins, all in relief.  Sefcik earned the W on Sunday. 

Fighting Illini Friday highlights

Fighting Illini Saturday highlights

Fighting Illini Sunday highlights

Illinois Baseball Report Sunday photos

 

Random Ramblings

Saturday’s win was the first time Illinois won in consecutive games this season.  I guess they liked it so much that they did it again.  Obviously, pitching was key this weekend with a 2.00 ERA against a pretty decent Indiana State lineup.  Maybe I’m biased (of course I am) but I have thought that our pitching staff was better than the stats indicated.  Time will tell if this will keep up. 

 

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DH Casey Dodge hit his first homer of the year on Sunday.  Coach Hartleb watches it sail over the left field wall…

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More dogs showed up for the annual “Bark in the Park” event than I have seen before.  The Illini really gave the canines a great show!  Check out other upcoming Fighting Illini promotions including May 5th’s Bleacher Bum BBQ. 

McInerney’s three homers now puts him at 11 for the year.  He now leads the Big Ten over Jake Adams (10).  Pat also leads the conference in total bases with 71 again by one over Adams who has 70. 

Next up

The Midweek game is on the road with the Illini traveling to Sauget, Illinois to take on Missouri on Tuesday.  Game Time is at 6:30pm at GCS Ballpark. 


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Illinois looks to reverse their streak vs. Sycamores this weekend

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Dan Rowbottom gives the fans something to cheer about on Sunday

The Illini baseball team welcome the Indiana State Sycamores to Illinois Field for a three-game series this weekend starting Friday at 6pm. 

Illinois (6-16) is hoping to rebound from a four-game losing streak. That includes a three-game sweep on Big Ten opening weekend against Michigan State as well as a midweek shutout by Bradley on Tuesday.  Conversely, Indiana State is currently on a five-game winning streak.    

Fighting Illini weekend preview

Pitcher probables

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Luke Shilling looks to recover on Sunday

  • Friday  Cole Bellair: 1-2, 8.02 ERA
  • Saturday Ty Weber: 1-2, 4.54 ERA
  • Sunday  Luke Shilling: 1-2 7.33 ERA 

With 41 total runs given up in the three games, there isn’t a lot positive to be said about the pitching during the Michigan State weekend. It’s just time to move on.  I know the talent is there.  Coach Hartleb does too and that is why we are seeing the same three pitchers this weekend. 

Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself?  Because I truly believe this to be true.  

A quick summary of the weekend…

 

Illinois Field
 
Champaign, Illinois

Fri. March 31

6:00 pm CT

Sat. April 1

3:00 pm CT

Sat. April 2

1:00 pm CT

 

vs

Indiana State Sycamores

IndianaStateSycamores

 

W-L: 12-9

 

 My take on the Sycamores:  The Sycamores have had a little better luck than the Illini lately.  While Illinois have lost their last four games, Indiana State are riding a five-game winning streak.  Their last win was against Illinois’ tough Big Ten rival Indiana who is 3-0 in conference play.  Yes, at 12-9 Indiana State will not roll over for over for us certainly not this year. 

Much like Illinois, the Sycamores have plenty in the hitting department.  Tony Roselli paces the team with a nice .414 batting average and an equally dangerous .724 slugging percentage.  Kyle Moore leads the Sycs in homers with five but it’s Dane Giesler who is the rbi leader with 16. 

Indiana State pitching is suspect though giving up more runs than you would think for a 12-9 team (5.28 team ERA).  Illinois can look to capitalize on that.  I’m looking for a lot of runs on the scoreboard this weekend. 

 

 

Random Ramblings

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I’m starting to wonder if freshman Cyrillo Watson will get a weekend start sometime soon.  He’s started two Tuesday midweek games in two straight weeks and has done fairly well.  In six combined innings, he’s allowed five hits and just one run. 

How many walks has he allowed, you ask?  How about, none? 

This weekend’s home series against Indiana State will be chock full of promotions to get you to the park. 

Friday:  Super Hero Day wear a super hero costume and get free Illini sunglasses!

Saturday: Kids Club Day pre-register your kids to get a tour of the press box and clubhouse!

Sunday: Bark in the Park bring your dogs to Illinois Field… on a leash please

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For a couple years, I’ve been trying to get Pat “the Bat” McInerney to be a thing.  This year, the moniker really has meaning.  Pat McInerney currently ranks second in the conference in homers (8) and slugging percentage (.667).  He is inching up on Iowa’s Jake Adams who has 9 HR and a .668 slugging pct. 

That’s him hitting one out against Michigan State on Friday night.  C’mon, Pat the Bat!  Don’t let up!

 

Go Illini!!    


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The Spartans visit Illinois Field for Big Ten opener

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Jack Yalowitz leads all Illini with a .389 average

I say this every year but it’s worth repeating… the non-conference season is just the beginning.  The Big Ten season is almost here and that brings a whole new aspect to college baseball.  The competition is more intense, the rivalries begin to heat up and the baseball is that much more fun to watch. 

This weekend, Michigan State (12-5) comes to Illinois Field for the Big Ten home opener.  The Spartans are currently second in the Big Ten behind Michigan in non-conference play.  Illinois who reside in 11th place with a 6-12 record hope to improve their standing.  With a series win, they could move up a notch over Penn State.  Both teams have momentum having won their last games. 

Note the change in the schedule due to weather.  There will be a doubleheader on Friday starting at 2pm.  The third game will be played on Saturday or Sunday depending on conditions.  

Fighting Illini weekend preview

Pitcher probables

  • Friday  Game 1 Cole Bellair: 1-1, 9.00 ERA
  • Friday Game 2  Ty Weber: 1-1, 3.45 ERA
  • Game 3  Luke Shilling: 1-1 5.87 ERA 

The hurlers are settling into a rotation going into conference play.  Cole Bellair (1-1)retains his Friday night role while Ty Weber (1-1) who enjoys the team’s best ERA, will go on the mound for Game 2.  Luke Shilling (1-1) who had a moderately better outing last weekend finishes out the weekend.

As a side note, Quinten Sefcik (2-3) is the only pitcher with more than one win.  Sefick pitched in three of Illinois’ five games.  In those three games, he’s allowed just run in 5 2/3 innings. 

A quick summary of the weekend…

 

Illinois Field
 
Champaign, Illinois

Fri. March 24

3:00 pm CT

(doubleheader)

 

Game 3 pending

vs

Michigan State Spartans

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W-L: 12-5

 

 My take on the Spartans:  The Spartans are off to a 12-5 start for a good reason.  They bring a combination of smart hitting (team average .304), formidable starting pitcher in Alex Troop (3-1, 1.93 ERA) and a very solid bullpen. 

When he swings the bat, Troop isn’t so bad either.  As a 1B/OF, the sophomore is hitting .455 in 12 games and 7 starts.

Couldn’t help but notice that there is a Dan Chmielewski on the Spartans’ roster.  I can’t help but wonder if he’s any relation to former Illini Nick Chmielewski

 

 

Random Ramblings

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Cyrillo Watson: 3 IP, nada hits

Fantastic job by the pitching staff on Tuesday!  In his first career start, freshman Cyrillo Watson kept ISU hitless in his three innings and earned the win.  The bullpen committee of Quinten Sefcik, Zack Jones, Ryan Thompson, Ryan Schmitt and Joey Gerber held the Redbirds to just one run on four hits for the remainder of the game. 

Michael Massey and Doran Turchin led offense against the Redbirds.  Massey went 3 for 4 with a double and two rbis while Turchin scored four times on two hits and two walks. 

Final score:  Illinois 7 ISU 1

 

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Former Illini pitcher Tanner Roark is doing his part for his country.  Roark pitched four innings of shutout ball against Japan to help Team USA win the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic.  He gave up two hits and struck out one. 

Long time fans will remember Tanner Roark pitching the Illini to the Big Ten Tournament.  That’s him above with former catcher Lars Davis after he pitched Illinois to victory in the first round of the tournament in 2007. 

 

Go Illini!!    


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Despite opportunities, Illinois drops doubleheader Sunday

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Pat McInerney made things interesting with his 5th homer of the year

Despite Sunday’s exciting game against Southern Illinois, the Illini couldn’t take advantage of opportunities and ended up losing both ends of a doubleheader.  Illinois lost the first game against Toledo 10-4.  SIU took the second game 3-1. 

Illinois (5-11) won the first game of the weekend’s tournament  against Toledo on Friday but lost three straight since then.  The Toledo Rockets went on to win the rest of their games at the round robin tournament hosted at Illinois Field. 

For the weekend, leadoff hitter Jack Yalowitz went 8 for 17 with nine rbis and two homeruns.  He is Illinois’ leading hitter with a .400 batting average.  Pat McInerney hit two homers for the weekend to add to his team lead of five.

Sunday’s games:

 

Game #15 / March 19, 2017    
utoledo vs

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  4

I have to hand it to the Toledo Rockets.  They came into this weekend’s tourney with a 2-14 record but buckled down and came out of it with the best record of the weekend with a 3-1 mark.  On Sunday, they sure handed the Illini a big loss. 

There was no doubt about this one.  No quick for the Illini and no comeback.  By the 5th inning, it was already 9-2 Toledo. 

Jack Yalowitz (above) continued to hit with a 2-5 performance with a triple and two rbis.  The bullpen again was effective as Ryan Thompson and Zak Devermann shut the Rockets down in the last 3 2/3 innings. 

 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Fighting Illini Box Score

Illinois Baseball Report photos for Friday

 

 

 

Game #16 / March 19, 2017    
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3

  1

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Fighting Illini Box Score

Illinois Baseball Report photos for Friday

 

Random Ramblings

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I’m beginning to realize what a talent the Illini have in Jack Yalowitz.  Yes, he is hitting .400 with 20 rbis for the season but during the game against Toledo, I saw what he really brought to the team.  With two out and Anthony Drago on first, Jack fouled off six straight pitches until he got one he liked and roped a triple down the right field line to score Drago. 

In fact, Yalo would have another nine-pitch at-bat later in the game.

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I want to go on the record and say that these Illini baseball fans are awesome.  They started the Row! Row! Row chant for Dan Rowbottom last year (and had a chance to do it again Sunday) but are rooting for all the players now and are really getting the other fans involved in the game. 

Keep it up!!

Next up

Hey check it out!  There’s another home game tomorrow!  Illinois State will be visiting Illinois Field Tuesday.  Cyrillo Watson is the scheduled starter. 

Game time is 4:05!!

See you at the ballpark!


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Despite Jack’s jack, Illinois falls to SIU 8-5

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With a 3 for 3 game, Yalowitz’s average soars above .400

Up one win on the weekend, Illinois (5-10) couldn’t quite pull it off against Southern Illinois (10-9) Saturday afternoon despite another great game by Jack Yalowitz..  The Salukis took advantage of four unearned runs in the seventh inning to win 8-5. 

The Illini did however, put SIU starter Michael Baird’s scoreless streak to an end. They wasted no time in scoring two runs on six hits in the first innings.  Baird entered the game with a 0.00 ERA in four starts.  Baird did get the win but we can tack three earned runs on to his stats now.  Yalowitz had a lot to do with that as he went 3 for 3 with a two-run homerun.  He now has a nifty .426 batting average.

 

 

Game #15 / March 18, 2017    
siu vs

8

  5

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The formula was similar to Friday’s game but not quite right. Like Friday, Illinois got off to a lead, the opponent came back then Illinois fought back.  Illinois didn’t count on an ugly four-run rally which included an error, a balk and a wild pitch. 

The good news?  Jack Yalowitz isn’t slowing down.  He went 3 for 3 with his second homer of the weekend.  His two rbis today gives him seven for the first two games and in my opinion and good start to the Big Ten Player of the Week. 

DH Casey Dodge also had two hits with an rbi. 

Ty Weber (1-1) lost for the first time in his career allowing seven runs, four earned on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.  Once the seventh inning was over, reliever Ryan Schmitt (above) settled down and pitched a solid 8th and 9th innings.

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Fighting Illini Box Score

Illinois Baseball Report photos for Friday

 

Random Ramblings

Just a reminder, I’m posting photos that I take at Illinois home games at the Illinois Baseball Report photo gallery.  I’ve been doing this since 2006 or so.  to save you the time, here is the direct link to this year’s gallery

I had a pleasant chat with the father of Assistant Coach Adam Christ on the sidelines during the game.  He told me that Coach Christ has been very focused on defense.  That doesn’t surprise me given the talent Illinois is developing in the infield this year.  They are really producing and showing great promise. 

I also found out a bit of trivia.  When Coach Christ played at Iowa State, he was teammates with former Illinois assistant coach Spencer Allen who is now head coach at Northwestern. 

Next up

Illinois has a full day tomorrow.  They will face Toledo at 11:00am.  Toledo has defeated Southern Illinois in both of their matchups. 

After that, Illinois will finish out the weekend with a re-match with the Salukis. 

Below is the full schedule of the weekend. 

 

Date Time (CT) Teams
Friday, March 17 12 p.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Friday, March 17 3:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Toledo (Koozie Giveaway)
Saturday, March 18 11 a.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Saturday, March 18 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois (Foam Glove Giveaway)
Sunday, March 19 11 a.m. Illinois vs. Toledo
Sunday, March 19 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois

See you at the ballpark!


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Illinois baseball treats fans to win at home opener 11-5

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Yalowitz says goodbye to this baseball

On Friday, Illinois baseball returned to the friendly confines of Illinois Field and all was good again. 

Taking on the University of Toledo Rockets who were coming off a win against SIU, the Illini won 11-5 thanks to five rbis by Jack Yalowitz and an effective performance by the bullpen.  That improves Illinois’ record to 5-9 for the season with three more games left this weekend.

The Illini’s leading hitter at .397, Yalowitz went 3 for 5 with a double, homer and five rbis.  Pat McInerney added another homerun, his fourth of the year which leads the team. 

 

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In relief, Quinten Sefcik (above) earned his second win of the year.  Combined with Cyrillo Watson and Ryan Thompson, the bullpen allowed just two hits and one run in the last 4 2/3 innings. 

 

 

Game #14 / March 17, 2017    
vs utoledo

11

  5

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With a 1-0 lead, Toledo fought back in the 3rd inning with a bases loaded triple to give Illinois something to think about.  That didn’t last too long though.  Jack Yalowitz hit a three-run homer in the fourth to re-take the lead which Illinois would never relinquish. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Fighting Illini Box Score

Illinois Baseball Report photos for Friday

 

Random Ramblings

So we’re 1-0 at home now doing what we do best.  Hit, hit hit, not to mention a little bit of good defense.  Check out this Brooks Robinson-esque play made by Trent Hammond. 

Glad to have Trent back at the hot corner. 

I had a chance to talk to Trent’s father, Kip Hammond during the game.  That’s always a special treat since the Hammonds hail from California.  Making the trip to Illinois is a big deal. 

Kip has been following the team on the road and gave me a bit of a scouting report.  Despite their rough start, it’s not all doom and gloom.  Kip used words like “team chemistry” and “absolute athleticism” to describe the Illini up and down the lineup. He also said that Illinois could have very easily gone 3-0 against Coastal Carolina.  It was a tight series and a lot of calls just didn’t go our way. 

Glad to have you here, Kip.  Enjoy the weather! 

Next up

Illinois will be out at Illinois Field this afternoon at 2:30pm to face the Salukis of Southern Illinois. 

Tomorrow is a full day.  Illinois will face both Toledo and SIU.  Sunday’s games begin at 11am.  Below is the full schedule of the weekend. 

 

Date Time (CT) Teams
Friday, March 17 12 p.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Friday, March 17 3:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Toledo (Koozie Giveaway)
Saturday, March 18 11 a.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Saturday, March 18 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois (Foam Glove Giveaway)
Sunday, March 19 11 a.m. Illinois vs. Toledo
Sunday, March 19 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois

See you at the ballpark!


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Home Sweet Home; Illinois hosts SIU and Toledo in round robin

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“It’s just good to be home.  You get to play on your own field, we have great fans here, and I think that’s a huge plus for us.”

Dan Hartleb via Daily Illini

For the first time this season, local fans will get to see the Illini baseball team at Illinois Field!  The Illini are hosting a three-team double round robin tourney including the University of Toledo Rockets and Coach Dan Hartleb’s alma mater, Southern Illinois University Salukis. 

Illinois is coming off a 4-9 road trip which has seen some great hitting and flashes of brilliance from the mound.  The pitching has been very inconsistent however and pitching coach Drew Dickinson is no doubt  working on that correct formula.

 

Fighting Illini weekend preview

Pitcher probables

mjames

  • Friday  Cole Bellair: 1-1, 9.24 ERA
  • Saturday  Ty Weber: 1-0, 2.82 ERA
  • Sunday  Matthew James: 0-0, 6.23 ERA
  • Sunday  Luke Shilling: 1-0, 6.35 ERA 

With a four game weekend, it looks like Matt James (above) is given a chance to prove his stuff with his first start of the season.  The Big Ten season is coming up and I’ll bet Coach Hartleb wants plenty of options.  Ty Weber will hope to continue his solid pitching.  I’m hoping to see the Luke Shilling from last weekend who only gave up one hit in five innings (maybe leave the walks at home). 

A quick summary of the weekend…

 

Illinois Field
 
Champaign, Illinois

Fri. March 17

3:30 pm CT

 

 

Sun. March 19

11:00 am CT

 

 

vs

Toledo Rockets

utoledo

 

W-L: 2-14

Sat. March 18

2:30 pm CT

 

Sun. March 19

2:30 pm CT

vs

Southern Illinois Salukis


siu

W-L: 9-7

 

 My take on this weekend:  Toledo is off to a rough start with a 2-14 record so hopefully can get some confidence-building wins off of them.  Their last game was a win against the same Florida Atlantic team that took Illinois two games out of three. 

The good news is that the Rockets are hitting just .221 while their pitching is suffering as well (6.21 ERA).  They do have two quality starters in Calhoun and Achter who still haven’t gotten much support (combined 1-3 record. 

Disregard SIU’s won-loss record (which happens to a pretty decent 9-7).  In any year, the Salukis are a tough match for the Illini.  Coach Hartleb’s alma mater always comes ready to play.

SIU’s Michael Baird is looking like superman right now on mound.  Wouldn’t be great if Illinois registered the first earned run against him in his fifth start?  I think so.  Greg Lambert is hitting a solid .349 and leads SIU with 19 rbis. 

 

 

Random Ramblings

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If you all are wondering what the weather will be like, well, it’s Illinois.  You’ll get a little of everything.  Warmer on Friday but wet.  Hopefully, the rain will subside by gametime.  The weekend will be cooler in the 40s but nice and sunny. 

Get there early for your foam glove on Saturday!! 

Just a reminder… if you can’t make if out to the ballpark this weekend, FightingIllini.com will be streaming the video for free.  This goes for Illinois games only.  But really, if you’re in the area, come on out to park. 

Yes, the Illini are still ranked #2 in the nation in defensive double plays but how about this stat?  They currently lead the Big Ten and are #26 in the nation in homeruns per game (1.16).  Pat McInerney and Doran Turchin lead the way with 3 each.  More importantly, eight players have hit a homer and five have two or more. 

You have four games to choose from.  Get out to the park this weekend! 

Go Illini!!    


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Illinois baseball reap one win against #21 Coastal Carolina

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Second HR of the season for Bren Spillane on Friday

If you had told me last week that Illinois was going to win one game against a ranked team that was the defending national champion, I would have pleasantly accepted that.  Thing is, with baseball, you get greedy and you want more.  Especially with one win down and a second one almost in the books. 

Alas, I have to give the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (9-7) credit for coming through.  After losing the first game on Friday, they rallied for a ninth inning win the second game on Saturday and then won the third easily.

The good news for the Illini (4-9) as they head for friendlier territory?  Starter Ty Weber is really showing us that he has good stuff.  Luke Shilling had a confidence-boosting start which will put him on a path to success.  Jack Yalowitz, Pat McInerney and Michael Massey continue to hit while hitters like Anthony Drago and Bren Spillane are now showing they too are to be reckoned with. 

 

Here’s a quick recap of the weekend.

 

Game #11 / March 10, 2017    
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7

  6

Illinois played a little comeback ball against the Chants as they took a 6-4 deficit into the 7th inning when the bats came alive.  Doran Turchin drove home two runs in the 7th.  Tied 6-6 in the 8th, Jack Yalowitz singled in Tyler Engel for the win. 

Bren Spillane and Anthony Drago both homered for the Illini in the four-run fourth inning. 

Quinten Sefcik pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball for his first win and Ryan Schmitt earned his first save of the year. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Box

 

Game #12 / March 11, 2017    
chants vs

3

  2

Illinois almost had this.  Michael Massey drove home two runs in the top of the first inning to start the game and Illinois kept that lead till the bottom of the ninth inning when back-to-back homers by the Chants took away the chance of a second win for the Illini. 

Illini starter Ty Weber pitched brilliantly.  In 7 2/3 innings, he gave up just one hit and one run on four walks and six strikeouts.  In fact, Weber didn’t give up the hit until the 8th inning.  Illini’s new prospect looks like the real deal!  

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Box

 

Game #13 / March 12, 2017    
chants vs

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  0

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

Box

 

Random Ramblings

Going into the weekend, Illinois was leading the nation in defensive double plays.  Ironically, the Illini did not turn a single double dipper in any of the three games this past weekend.  They are now tied for 2nd with Duke with 21 behind Virginia Tech. 

Illinois weather is a funny thing.  In mid-February, games were being cancelled in Texas because of weather while at the same time, it was sunny and warm here in Champaign.  Well, it’s March now and the eve of our home opener.  Looking out the window, I see snow coming down.  Sure enough, tomorrow’s home opener against Northern Illinois (the day I look forward to every year) has been cancelled.  There has not been an announced makeup date yet.  Don’t put away your Illini gear though because…

Next up

…Illinois will be hosting a three-way round robin tournament this weekend at Illinois Field.  Here is the full schedule: 

 

Date Time (CT) Teams
Friday, March 17 12 p.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Friday, March 17 3:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Toledo (Koozie Giveaway)
Saturday, March 18 11 a.m. Southern Illinois vs. Toledo
Saturday, March 18 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois (Foam Glove Giveaway)
Sunday, March 19 11 a.m. Illinois vs. Toledo
Sunday, March 19 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. Southern Illinois

See you at the ballpark!


Related posts

Illinois Baseball wraps up road trip with defending national champs #21 Coastal Carolina

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Cole Bellair: back on the mound

Illinois will take their 3-7 record on the road south one more time.  Visiting Conway, South Carolina, they will try their luck in a three-game series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers who were the NCAA national champions in 2016.   At 9-6, the Chants are ranked #21 in the country.  

With one more series left before returning home to Champaign, Illinois hopes to gain some momentum.  That momentum is especially important as the Big Ten season encroaches.  Illinois plays their first conference series against Michigan State in just two weeks. 

Fighting Illini weekend preview

Pitcher probables

  • Friday  Cole Bellair: 1-1, 9.45 ERA
  • Saturday  Ty Weber: 1-0, 3.68 ERA
  • Sunday  Luke Shilling: 1-0, 9.00 ERA 

Okay, part of me wonders if Coach Hartleb said, “If you won a game this year, step forward.  You get to pitch this weekend”.  Because, that is exactly what it looks like. 

We haven’t seen a lot from Cole Bellair but frankly, he has the most experience on this young staff.  From what I hear, Luke Shilling is still showing signs of good stuff in between getting lit up in the past two weekends. And aside from a rough start two weekends ago, Ty Weber has been the most consistent starter on the staff with a team low 3.68 ERA. 

A quick summary of the weekend…

 

Springs Brooks Stadium
 
Conway, South Carolina

Fri. March 10

3:00 pm CT

Sat. March 11

11:00 pm CT

(doubleheader)

 

vs

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

chants

 

W-L: 9-6

 

 My take on the Chants:  This was going to be the big series of the non-conference season.  It’s still big but since the beginning of the season, the national champions have already lost six games.  Coastal Carolina now ranks #21 in the nation. 

Like the Illini, Coastal Carolina has been able to put the bat on the ball but pitching is a thorn in their side.  They now sport a 5.37 ERA.  Fortunately for the Chants, they have outscored their opponents if only by a slight margin (102-92). 

Starting pitcher Alex Cunningham has done well in his three outings (2-0, 2.75).  Kevin Woodall leads in the team in homers (7) and rbis (21).

 

Random Ramblings

In case you missed it, it’s worth mentioning that there won’t be a Sunday game.  Due to projected bad weather in South Carolina, there will be a scheduled doubleheader on Saturday.

I don’t know about you but I’m excited about next Tuesday’s home opener against the Northern Illinois Huskies.  As always, keep an eye on @illinoisbaseball on Twitter for any possible schedule changes due to weather.  February may have been nice but March may have some surprises in store for us. 

Fighting Illini Baseball recently came out with its 2017 Promotional calendar.  Draw a red circle around May 5 because that is when the ninth Bleacher Bum BBQ will take place. There will be free BBQ for the first 500 fans! 

Here is the list of the big promos this year:

Opening Day (March 14)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Big Ten Opening Weekend (March 24-26)
Super Hero Night (March 31)
Kid’s Club Day / April Fools Day (April 1)
Bark in the Park (April 2)
Illinois Agriculture Night (April 14)
Bunny at the Ballpark (April 15-16)
Bleacher Bum Barbeque (May 5)
Hail to the Orange Day (May 6)
Honor and Serve Day (May 7)
Spring Cleaning Day (May 19)
I FUND Day / Senior Day (May 20)

Bring us back a win, guys!

Go Illini!!    


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Illinois baseball sees lots of offense against FAU, Weber gets first career win

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Doran Turchin: two dingers on Friday night

Last weekend in Boca Raton, Illinois baseball really showed what its offense could do but with the wind blowing out combined with an inexperienced pitching staff, the good guys came away with just one Saturday win against the Florida Atlantic Owls. 

Illinois hit a total of ten homeruns and scored a total of 25 runs on Friday and Saturday.  Unfortunately, Friday’s game ended in a heartbreaking 11-10 loss.  Ty Weber gave the Illini a good performance for his first career win, 14-4.  Sunday effort was a mirror image of Saturday’s game when Illinois lost to the Owls, 16-2.

Jack Yalowitz led Illinois with a .500 (6 for 12) batting average for the weekend. 

Here’s a quick recap of the weekend.

 

Game #8 / March 3, 2017    
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For the second Friday in a row, Illinois was embroiled in a one-run slugfest.  This time, they didn’t quite pull it out losing 11-10. 

Trent Hammond (above) came out of his 2017 ohfer streak in a big way.  He drove home a run with a base hit in the second inning.  In the 4th, he hit a two-run homerun.  That was one of four homeruns by the Illini.  Doran Turchin hit two solo shots while Pat McInerney contributed a 3rd inning solo shot.  For the game, Mac was 3 for 5 with 3 rbis and two runs and a double in addition to his dinger. 

Starter Luke Shilling is getting his feet wet.  In three innings, he allowed 7 runs on five hits and six walks. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

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Game #9 / March 4, 2017    
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Illinois got some payback on Saturday though.  The wind at FAU Stadium must have still been blowing out as the good guys hit a total of six homeruns to dominate the Owls 14-4.  Jack Yalowitz added to his hit total going 4 for 5 with two dingers while David Craan added two more homers and drove in four runs.  Bren Spllane and Casey Dodge each hit their first homer of the year (both hit a double as well). 

Speaking of firsts, Ty Weber put in a good performance and recorded his first career win.  He allowed just one run in six innings striking out four. 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

http://www.fightingillini.com/boxscore.aspx?path=baseball&id=12573Box

 

Game #10 / March 5, 2017    
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On Sunday, the winds may have blowing but the Illini couldn’t take advantage.  The Owls simply outhit the Illini.  Outside of a couple doubles by Tyler Engel and Ryan Haff, the Illinois offense just lost whatever they had the past two days.  The Owls outhit Illinois 18 to 8 and as a result won 16-2. 

Seven Illinois pitchers appeared in Sunday’s game against Florida Atlantic and only Zak Devermann escaped relatively unscathed (1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER). 

Fighting Illini Game Wrapup

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Random Ramblings

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Well, the Illini scored 27 runs in three games this past weekend.  Going on previous weekends, this reinforces the thought that offense is definitely there for our guys.  A total of 10 homerun were hit in the first two game by our guys.  The biggest threat?  It’s still Jack Yalowitz who hit .500 (6 for 12) and raises hit overall batting average to .425.  Big Pat McInerney (above) is posting some big numbers too.  He’s batting .366 and leads the Illini with 3 homers and 13 ribbies. 

At the beginning of the season, we were told that this is a young team. Bear that in mind, when you glance at the 8.09 team ERA.  I know, it’s not easy.  I truly believe that we have good arms in our pitching staff.  We may not see the results for a while but we will see them. 

On a more positive note, take a look at the NCAA baseball stat page.  You’ll find that the Illini are now leading the nation in one key stat.  They are #1 in the nation in defensive double plays.  And while are tied with Duke and Virginia Tech with 17, it’s only taken Illinois ten games to reach that mark.  The key players involved?  You can look towards 2B Michael Massey (13) and SS Ben Troike (11) who are the ones turning the double dipper.

I’m getting ahead of myself but next weekend’s series against Coastal Carolina was going to be the big test for the Illini.  Don’t get me wrong, it looks like Illinois already has plenty to deal with already.  That said, last year’s national champion have gotten off to a less than stellar start.  The Chants are ranked #21 and already have five losses at 9-5.  Either way, it would be a feather in Illinois’ cap if they could muster a series win.  

Which bring me to…

Next up

Illinois will be going south again but not as much as we’re used to.  They’re going to Conway, South Carolina to face the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina for a three-game series.  Friday’s game begins at 3pm. 

And the good news is… This will be the LAST series before Illinois’ first home game!!

Go Illini!


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