The Illinois Baseball team’s postseason dreams are on the line this weekend when they head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play the last road conference series of the regular season against the Michigan Wolverines.
D1baseball.com released its projected Field of 64 when it comes to the College World Series and the Illini were included on the First Five Out list.
If Illinois is to come out this weekend with a series win, the pitching staff needs to bring more consistency on the mound. In the Illini’s two losses to Ohio State last weekend, the pitching staff gave up a total of 16 runs.
Starting pitcher Ty Weber had been the most dependable Illini pitcher for a majority of the season, but in the series finale against the Buckeyes, Weber only lasted 1.1 innings, giving up five runs (one earned) while walking four.
The Illinois offense is coming off a solid weekend against Ohio State, however. The Illini put up 22 total runs against the Buckeyes, which included an 11-run outing in the team’s lone win in the series.
While his stats are starting to come back down to earth, Illinois first baseman Bren Spillane is still having a monster season. Spillane is batting .418 with a team leading 18 home runs, 52 RBI and a ridiculous .950 slugging percentage.
Spillane isn’t the only Illini having a great season at the plate. Second baseman Michael Massey is having a very impressive sophomore campaign. Massey is batting .324 with four home runs and 35 RBI.
His partner in crime, shortstop Ben Troike, is right behind him with a batting average of .318 with three homers and 22 RBI. Troike has also been able to maintain his on-base streak, with reaching base in 48 straight games.
The Illini will have a uphill battle when they face the Wolverines as this 31-14 team have been dominant on their home field, recording a 17-1 record in Ann Arbor. But if Illinois comes out with consistent pitching while also carrying over the offensive momentum it had last weekend, then Illinois should put up a fight.