The 24th ranked Illinois Fighting Illini were on the road this weekend, but stayed in-state as they picked up the series win against Southern Illinois in Carbondale.
The Illini split the doubleheader Saturday against the Salukis before clinching the series win with a 6-2 victory on Sunday. Illinois stayed ranked 24th after the weekend.
Illinois put on an offensive onslaught in Game One and obliterated Southern Illinois, 16-6.
Junior first baseman Bren Spillane, especially, had a monstrous performance at the plate, going 4-6 with three home runs and six total RBI’s.
Despite the final score, neither team was able to get anything really going through the first three frames, with the Illini only leading by one at the time.
Spillane then broke it open with a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly from junior catcher Jeff Korte allowed sophomore infielder Michael Massey to score. Korte finished the game 3-3 from the plate.
The Salukis, however, responded in the fifth inning and even took a 5-4 lead thanks to the Illini shooting themselves in the foot with fielding errors and wild pitches, which allowed runners to get home.
But, Spillane tied the game up immediately in the top of the sixth with a lead-off homer to right-center. This was the start of what would be a four-run sixth inning and set the stage for Illinois to put the game even more out of hand with a seven-run seventh inning.
Spillane also led off that inning with his third home-run of the game.
Sophomore shortstop Ben Troike went 2-6 from the plate and finished with four RBI’s.
Junior pitcher Quinn Snarskis improved to 2-0 on the season after picking up the win on the mound.
The Illini couldn’t carry over this momentum into the night game, falling 5-4 to the Salukis.
Heading into the fifth inning, the game was tied at one a piece before a two-run homer from junior outfielder Zac Taylor put the Illini ahead 3-1. An RBI-single from junior outfielder Doran Turchin made it 4-1 ballgame after the fifth frame.
But Southern Illinois climbed back into this one, getting two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, before getting what would become the game-winning home-run from shortstop Connor Kopach in the seventh.
Pitcher Ryan Netemeyer picked up his first save of the season to solidify the victory for the Salukis.
Sophomore pitcher Ryan Thompson was credited for the loss, his first of the season.
In the series finale, Illinois got a great pitching performance out of sophomore pitcher Ty Weber, who went eight innings, giving up only two runs, three hits, and striking out eight at the plate. This performance propelled the Illini to a 6-2 win.
Southern Illinois held a 2-1 lead going into the fifth before Illinois broke the game open with four runs in the inning.
Junior Michael Michalak kicked off the scoring with an RBI-single to left field. This was then followed later on by Taylor who picked up an RBI-single to right field.
Singles from Troike and junior outfielder Jack Yalowitz allowed Michalek and Taylor to reach home and give the Illini a 5-2 lead. Weber’s great pitching down the stretch kept the Salukis at bay and allowed his team to leave Carbondale with a series victory.
The Illini will be staying in-state when they head to Bloomington on Tuesday to compete against the Illinois State Redbirds.