Illinois comes into the 2019 season with most of its pitching production back. The Illini return 97 percent of their pitching wins and 98 percent of their pitching starts from the 2018 season. Let’s get to know the rotation for 2019.
Quinn Snarskis - The St. Joseph’s Transfer started off his Illini career on the right note. In his 12 starts in 2018, Snarskis went 6-1 in 73.0 IP. He posted a 2.84 ERA which was 7th best in the Big Ten. Snarskis started the first game in Aruba which should indicate that he will be the ace in this year’s pitching staff.
Ty Weber will return as a weekend starter after fulfilling the same role for all of 2018. Weber made huge strides in 2018, lowering his ERA from 5.51 to 3.84, and ending 2018 with a winning record. The Illini will hopefully see more improvements from him in 2019.
The final weekend starter will likely be Andy Fisher. The senior put together a decent 2018 campaign going 6-3 in 14 starts and posting a 3.96 ERA. Fisher played well in Aruba, only giving up 1 earned run in 5 innings pitched. His performance last year and experience should make him the obvious choice for the last weekend starter slot.
Ryan Thompson will be coach Hartleb’s go to guy in 2019. The junior had a fantastic season in 2018 where he went 8-3 and posted a 2.72 ERA all in relief. After putting up such great numbers last year, Thompson could be coach’s choice for Thursday starter.
The most interesting story in the bullpen this year is former Marine, Josh Harris. Harris was deployed twice and spent four years in the Marines before returning to school at Kankakee Community College. In his freshman year at Kankakee he went 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA. The Illini are excited to see what he can bring to the bullpen in 2019.
Two freshmen, Nathan Lavender and Caleb Larson, will be gunning for playing time. Lavender and Larson were ranked the 11th and 27th best players in Illinois by Prep Baseball report. Both players got early playing time in Aruba and showed plenty of promise.
The rest of the bullpen will include Quinten Seifcik, Zack Jones, Sean Leland, and Josh Garner
This year’s closer will likely be Garrett Acton. The Parkland College transfer had a bounce-back season after a disappointing freshman year at St. Louis University. Acton got off to a positive start back in Aruba where he pitched 3.2 innings and punched out four batters.
Illiniois will kick off its 2019 season against Georgetown in Winston-Salem N.C on Feb. 15.
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