The Big Ten champion Illinois Fighting Illini baseball team continues to make history this season - this time at the Big Ten awards on Tuesday.
Illinois swept the top three Big Ten individual awards for the first time in school history: Dan Hartleb (Coach of the Year), Tyler Jay (Pitcher of the Year), David Kerian (Player of the Year).
Hartleb received his first conference coach of the year award, joining Itch Jones as the only Illini skipper to win the award. Jones collected the award in 1998 and 2005. He has guided the Illini to a nation-best 26-game win streak and Big Ten regular-season title with a 45-6-1, 21-1 in Big Ten record this season. The lone loss in conference play came against Michigan State on the road.
The closer Jay is the first Illini to earn the top pitching honor since his pitching coach Drew Dickinson did so in 2001. Jay is 5-1 with a 0.67 ERA with 12 saves and 62 strikeouts and just six walks. Jay was also a unanimous first-team selection. Jason Anderson (2000) and Brett Weber (1998) also won the top pitching award.
The first baseman Kerian is the second Illini in the past three seasons and ninth overall to win the top player accolade. Kerian is hitting .383 with 13 home runs, 42 runs and 45 RBI. He received first-team honors for the second time in his career. Justin Parr was the last Illini to win the top honor in 2013.
The No. 1-seeded Illini play the No. 8-seeded Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.