To little surprise, the Illini (24-17, 10-5 Big Ten) earned the win Tuesday night in a matchup with the Salukis (21-24, 3-12 Missouri Valley) of Southern Illinois with a score of 10-1. The Illini are now the lone team in second place, with the win moving them past Nebraska in the conference standings.
Rob McDonnell offered another solid outing for the Illini, improving his record to 3-0 while allowing zero runs in three innings. Over in the other dugout, the score speaks for itself.
As usual, the Illini got off to a quick start, earning two runs in the first inning off a double to right center from Goldstein. Fletcher hit his second home run on the year in the third inning, earning the only run of the inning.
After facing only ten batters and allowing one hit in three innings, Sedlock was called to the mound in the fourth, making his first appearance since March 26. Sedlock didn't last long, however, as he was pulled out after only two innings pitched, allowing one run off a homer in the fifth.
Fletcher sent a solo shot over the fence again in the sixth and, after Reid Roper singled to center to bring in two, hit a three-run shot in the seventh. By the time the Illini were up to bat again in the eighth, eight of their nine starters had been subbed.
Casey Fletcher really stepped up in Tuesday's game, earning five RBIs, each coming off home runs. Reid Roper and Jason Goldstein both knocked in two, and Kelly Norris-Jones managed his second RBI on the season.
Whether Illinois remains all alone in second place will be determined in Nebraska's matchup with Nebraska-Omaha, while Michigan State is only two and a half games back of the Illini.
Up next for the Illini is a weekend home series with fourth place Michigan State (24-17, 8-7 Big Ten).