If you've been annoyed by me tweeting Illinois baseball the last two days I've got some bad news for you. I'll be tweeting at least one more game tomorrow, and possibly two! Yep, that's right, the Illini beat Michigan 3-2 on Thursday to move on to the next round of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament.
The offense still struggled like on Wednesday against Minnesota, but the pitching continued to impress. John Kravetz went seven innings and allowed only two runs while striking out seven. However, things got a bit scary in the eighth inning as Michigan opened the frame with a triple that scored on a sac fly. The Wolverines then doubled before Drasen Johnson came in with runners at first and second with one out and the Illini clinging to a 3-2 lead. Johnson then got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning before Bryan Roberts came in to close things out in the ninth.
On offense it was Michael Hurwitz's RBI triple in the fifth inning that proved to be the game winner. Thomas Lindauer had an RBI and scored twice while Jordan Parr drove in a run as well to account for all the Illini scoring. One area of worry is that Justin Parr went 0-for-4 today and is now 1-for-8 in the first two games of the tournament.
The Illini will need the Big Ten Player of the Year to break out of this mini-slump if they want to continue moving on in the tournament.
As for what's next for the Illini, well, it depends on what happens in the last two games of today's tournament. The Illini will face the lowest-seeded team that loses the next two games, so it could be Ohio State, Nebraska or Minnesota again. That game will be played at noon on Friday, and should the Illini win that game they'd play the other loser of these next two games directly afterward.
Don't worry, we all are. What you need to know is that if the Illini are going to win the Big Ten again like they did in 2011 they just need to keep winning, no matter who they're playing.
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