Three more straight W’s from Illinois brings a sweep, the first 6-0 start since 2015 and hope for the future success of Illinois Baseball this season.
Illinois played Florida Atlantic this weekend, and won all three games behind a dominant offense, accumulating 23 runs against the Owls.
“Our guys don’t give in. They had great energy trying to find a way to win. Our guys battle and they believe,” head coach Dan Hartleb told FightingIllini.com after the 7-6 win on Friday.
Senior Jeff Korte led the Illini with two home runs and a three-run homer in the ninth to bring Illinois the series-opening win. Freshman Caleb Larson, who had his first career win and appearance, pitched a shutout eighth inning. Junior Garrett Acton followed, hurling a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Illinois improved Saturday, with redshirt-junior Andy Fisher only allowing one run on two hits in six innings, leading the Illini to a 5-3 win.
“[Fisher] did a great job,” said Hartleb to FightingIllini.com, “He pounded the zone, was down in the zone a lot. He’s got some toughness and our defense did a good job behind him.”
The Illini produced a total of 13 hits with every starter getting to base. Senior Michael Michalak, redshirt-senior Zac Taylor and junior Michael Massey all tied their own career highs with 3 hits each.
Illinois fought for the series sweep through 10 innings against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. Senior Jack Yalowitz singled home the game winning run to make it an 11-10 win.
Illinois earned its season high of 19 hits on Sunday’s game, with each top hitter in the lineup contributing. Redshirt-freshman Kellen Sarver had 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Redshirt-senior Cam Mcdonald added 4 hits, bringing his season total to 7, leading the Illini.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND
Illinois is now ranked, checking in at No. 25. Michigan is the only other ranked team in the Big Ten.
Stats don’t lie
Illinois hasn’t been this good since 2015.
2015 was a good year, huh?
Best Starts in Illinois History (by year)— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) February 24, 2019
2019 - 5-0
2015 - 6-0 (7-0-1)
1986 - 7-0 (9-0-1)
1949 - 5-0
1946 - 5-0
1937 - 5-0
1935 - 8-0
1930 - 6-0
1915 - 12-0
1910 - 11-0 (finished 11-0)
1909 - 7-0
1905 - 5-0
1899 - 5-0 https://t.co/s3jBWM3AGx
Illinois stays on the road this weekend and heads to South Carolina.
The Illini play Coastal Carolina on Friday, Northeastern on Saturday and Monday, and Connecticut on Sunday.
Illinois is 2-3 vs. ranked CCU Chanticleers teams over the last two years.
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