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Meyer, Gophers blank Illini 3-0 on second day of Big Ten Tournament

Illinois only managed to get three hits off Minnesota pitcher Reggie Meyer.

Jonathan Bonaguro

Day Two of postseason baseball didn’t go as well as the first for the Illinois Baseball team, getting shutout by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 3-0, on Thursday night (and Friday morning) in Omaha, Nebraska.

Minnesota pitcher Reggie Meyer pitched his first career complete game, while also recording his first career shutout in the process. The Gophers’ offense gave Meyer some run support immediately in the game.

Starting pitcher Andy Fisher got off to a shaky start in the first inning against the Gophers, giving up two runs on four hits. Fisher started the frame off giving up back-to-back singles, which were then advanced to second and third after a fielder’s choice the following at bat.

Eli Wilson then knocked home the first run of the game with a single to centerfield. The second run was tacked on a batter later by Cole McDevitt, who singled through the left side.

Fisher settled in after the first inning, allowing only one more run the rest of his outing and lasting seven innings for the Illini. Fisher’s final stat line included tying an Illinois season-high and achieving a career-high for strikeouts in a game with nine while giving up nine hits and walking one at the plate.

But Fisher and the Illinois lineup was outmatched by the superb pitching from Meyer. Along the way, Meyer allowed only three hits and struck out seven Illini.

The best scoring opportunity for the Illini came way back in the first inning. After reaching on an error, outfielder Zac Taylor made his way to third thanks to a single from first basemen Bren Spillane. Second baseman Michael Massey, however, grounded into a double play the next at bat, ending what went on to be their best scoring opportunity of the game.

Shortstop Ben Troike kept his on-base streak alive in the ninth inning after singling to left field. The hit makes it 56 consecutive games for Troike and is the longest active streak in the nation.

Spillane struggled the rest of the game after starting off with a single, going 1-for-4.

After getting blanked by the Gophers, Thursday night, the Illini will look to bounce back in the elimination bracket on Friday, April 25, in a rematch against the Indiana Hoosiers.

Late Start

Illinois and Minnesota’s game was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. on Thursday, but there were two games that went to extra innings during the day.

Purdue and Michigan’s game ended shortly after 9 p.m., and Illinois’ game could not start after 10, per Big Ten rules. But a joint decision was made for first pitch to be at 9:59 p.m., just in time to start.

Now Illinois will play again later today.