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Illinois jumps out early, prevails over Iowa, 13-12

The Illini blew a 10-0 lead.

Tom Jozefowicz

Bren Spillane is a professional hitter.

It just so happens that he’s playing at the college level.

Illinois’ junior first baseman added two more home runs Saturday afternoon in a 13-12 win for the No. 22 Illini over Iowa, bringing his total to 14 on the season. Spillane has 11 home runs in his past 10 games and is the fastest Illini ever to 14 home runs.

But it wasn’t just Spillane getting it done for the Illini against the Hawkeyes. A night after falling behind 7-2 after three innings, Illinois jumped out over Iowa to a 10-0 advantage after batting around in the third against Iowa starter Brady Schanuel.

Left fielder Doran Turchin had a home run in that breakout third inning.

But Iowa was able to work its way back into it, pouncing on Illinois starter Andy Fisher for five runs (two earned). The Hawkeyes trailed 13-5 entering the final frame, but scored seven runs and had the game-tying run on base. Illinois closer Joey Gerber shut down Iowa to pick up his seventh save.

Illinois right fielder Jack Yalowitz had a breakout game of sorts after struggling and being dropped to sixth in the lineup. He finished with three hits, including two doubles, and two flyouts on the warning track.

The Illini are now 17-6 this season and 4-1 in Big Ten play. Illinois swept Northwestern on the road last weekend. The rubber match of this weekend’s series is Sunday at 1 p.m. at Illinois Field.