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Illinois routs Nebraska behind another Spillane home run

Spillane hit his 21st on Friday night.

Jonathan Bonaguro

When the Big Ten Tournament rolls around next Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska, no team will be hotter than Illinois.

The Illini won for the fourth time in five games Friday night, routing Nebraska 13-6 in the process.

It was the third time in the past five games that Illinois’ offense scored at least 10 runs, an impressive mark for a team that was struggling for the better part of April and suddenly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Now the Illini look like locks for the tourney and could potentially be ranked this week.

Illinois (31-17, 15-8 Big Ten) scored 12 runs from the fourth through sixth innings against Nebraska on Friday. Center fielder Zac Taylor hit his 10th home run of the season, and first baseman Bren Spillane crush his 21st homer. Spillane, who leads the country in on base plus slugging percentage (OPS), now sits five home runs behind Josh Klimek.

Klimek holds the single-season Illinois record with 26 home runs (1996).

Andy Fisher (6-2) rolled in his final start of the regular season for the Illini. The junior pitched six innings and allowed one run and six hits.

Illinois still can finish anywhere from third through fifth in the final Big Ten standings, which is the difference between a 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. start time next Wednesday in the conference tournament.

Catcher Mark Skonieczny and pitcher Jackson Douglas will be honored during a pregame Senior Day ceremony Saturday afternoon, the Illini’s final regular season game of the season.