Illinois continues its six-game winning streak in Conway, South Carolina, to take on No.20 Coastal Carolina, Connecticut, and Northeastern this weekend.
The Illini (6-0) swept the Florida Atlantic Owls (3-6) last weekend to keep their undefeated season alive and enter the D1Baseball.com Top 25 poll. Illinois rallied twice in the ninth and 10th innings on Friday and Sunday, to beat the Owls 7-6 and 11-10.
“The way we have gone out and taken care of business early [has] been rewarding and impressive to me” said head coach Dan Hartleb. “We got a couple opportunities to fold in situations, and our guys have done a great job of competing.”
The Illini start the weekend off against the No.20 ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (7-2). The Chanticleers will bring a high-powered offense with seven guys batting above .300. The engine to this powerhouse offense is Parker Chavers, who has already hit four home runs this season.
The Illini will play Northeastern Huskies (4-2) on Saturday and Monday. The Huskies got off to a bad start after a series lost to Houston Baptist but have bounced back nicely against Mizzou and South Dakota State.
Finally, the Illini will play the Connecticut Huskies (3-3) on Sunday. The Huskies got off to a fantastic start when they beat No. 4 Louisville in a three-game series. Anthony Prato headlines the Connecticut offense with a .400 batting average and .560 slugging percentage.
The Illini will likely keep their rotation in line with Quinn Snarskis, Andy Fisher and Cyrillo Watson. Hartleb will tip his hand and give us the first glimpse of the Tuesday/Thursday starter on Monday because due to the four game-series.
Snarskis has gotten off to a rough start this season posting a 9.00 ERA in only six innings of work, but fellow senior Fisher and Watson have picked up the slack posting sub 3.00 ERAs.
Illinois has gotten most of its production from seniors Zac Taylor and Michael Massey. Taylor has biggest surprise this season batting .429 average and slugging .679. Massey has produced in his new role as DH by hitting .391 and posting a .500 on-base percentage.
“[It’s] different,” Massey called playing designated hitter. “Not being able to go out on the field in between bats has been different. Trying to stay loose and kinda just approach every at bat in a different way mentally, but Branden [Comia] is doing a great job out there.”
The Illini will look to carry this momentum into the weekend and stay undefeated.
The series kicks off at 4:30 p.m. CT today and Saturday, with the final two games being held at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and 10:00 a.m. CT on Monday.
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