Coming into its weekend series against the Michigan Wolverines, the Illinois Baseball team had lost its last three series and seemed to be on the outside looking in when it came to NCAA Tournament dreams.
The series drought is now over, and the Illini’s postseason hopes may have been revived after a dominant performance against the Wolverines on Friday and Saturday.
Illinois opened the series with a 10-3 victory over Michigan, led by first baseman Bren Spillane, who hit his 19th and 20th home runs of the season — putting him in second place all-time for home runs in a single season for Illinois.
The Wolverines put the first run of the game on the board in the first inning, but the Illini broke the game open in the second.
With the bases loaded after already picking up two runs in the inning, second baseman Michael Massey hit a three-run RBI double with two outs to clear the bases and put his team ahead 5-1.
Spillane then added three more runs on the board in the fifth and sixth innings. Spillane led the fifth off with bomb to right-center field. He decided he wasn’t done there as he hit a two-run homer to right field the following inning to put the Illini up 8-1.
Illinois added two more runs in the eighth inning and Michigan picked up a run each in the seventh and ninth innings.
Starting pitcher Quinn Snarskis boosted his record to 6-1 after going six innings, giving up only one run on five hits.
Game Two saw another offensive outburst from Illinois, taking down Michigan 10-4 to secure the series win.
Third baseman Grant Van Scoy was the man at the plate on Saturday. Van Scoy hit a two-run homer — the first home run of his Illini career — in the second inning. He tacked on two more RBI in the fourth inning when his single to center field allowed two runners to reach home.
The Illini then erupted for six runs in the sixth inning, with the first run being knocked in by Van Scoy for his fifth RBI of the day.
With two runners on, center fielder Zac Taylor hit a three-run homer to left field to break the game wide open for Illinois. Massey continued his strong weekend later on in the inning by hitting a two-run RBI double to left-center field to put the ninth and tenth Illini runs of the game up.
Shortstop Ben Troike kept his on-base streak alive in Game Two, making that 50 consecutive games he has reached base.
Starting pitcher Andy Fisher had a no-hitter through five innings for Illinois and even once it was broken up, still kept Michigan tamed, allowing only two runs on two hits and striking out a career-high eight batters.
The Illini will be looking to secure the series sweep on Sunday, April 13, which should put the Illini back in postseason contention.