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Illinois looks to break out of slump against No. 15 Indiana

The Illini hit the road for a critical series.

Jonathan Bonaguro

Illinois Baseball will be looking to get its season back on track in its toughest road series to date this season against the No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers.

The Illini are going through a rough patch at the midpoint of the season, dropping four out of their last five games. The losses include the likes of midweek opponents such as Valparaiso and Bradley, and they dropped two out of their three games against Grand Canyon last weekend.

The Hoosiers will be heading into this weekend series in a lull of their own after losing their last series against Ohio State and their midweek contest against Purdue.

Offense has been scarce for Illinois of late, mustering a total of 10 runs in its last 38 innings. Batting averages have obviously dropped as a result with only four players currently batting .270 or higher. As of a couple weeks ago, a majority of the lineup was around this average.

First baseman Bren Spillane is still having a monster season, batting .444 with 16 home runs, 46 RBI and a whopping slugging percentage of 1.026.

Infielders Ben Troike and Michael Massey are also having excellent season. Troike is batting .331 with 18 RBI and an on-base streak at a Big Ten-high 41 games.

Massey is right behind Troike with an average of .324 to go along with four home runs and 32 RBI.

Inconsistency out of the Illini bullpen has proven to have negative effects for the team. Three out of the last four losses have been dealt to relievers.

Having this inconsistency and a struggling offense is obviously not ideal for a team set to face a 29-8 Hoosier team. Indiana has also been dominant on their home field, bolstering an impressive 16-3 record at Bart Kaufman Field.

Players to look out for on Indiana include infielder Matt Gorski, who has gotten 50 hits on the season thanks to a .365 batting average. Gorski has three home runs and 23 RBI.

Catcher Ryan Fineman has had a strong season for the Hoosiers as well, batting .336 with five home runs and 30 RBI.

On the mound, Pauly Mito has been dominant, recording a 5-2 record and a 1.89 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 54 innings.

Illinois has risen up to the level of its competition before this season with upset wins against UCLA (ranked No. 11 at the time) and Coastal Carolina (ranked No. 19 at the time), but Illinois is going to have to bring it for an entire weekend if it wants to walk out with a road series win.