CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After what was supposed to be a Friday home opener — Illinois weather had other plans — the Illini took to a long Saturday with a doubleheader against Southern Illinois to start off the weekend series.
Illinois (13-3) had back-to-back 5-4 wins on Saturday against the Salukis (10-8). The Illini won their fifth straight home-opener overall.
SIU started off game one with a 2-0 lead after an inning, where Illinois’ Grant Van Scoy tied it up with a two-out, two-RBI hit. Michael Massey put another one on the scoreboard in the third inning with a solo-home run — his third straight game with a homer.
Distance: 401 ft.— Illinois Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) March 16, 2019
Exit velo: 106 mph
Launch angle: 34°@mmass7219's third straight game with a homer.
Redshirt senior Andy Fisher tied his season-long start with seven strong innings on the mound, only allowing four runs (three of which were earned) on seven hits. Redshirt senior Quentin Sefcik followed up with two-hitless innings and freshman Jacob Campbell hit a walk-off sac fly that propelled Illinois to its 5-4 win.
Junior Ty Weber started on the mound in the second game and didn’t allow an earned run through six innings. SIU finally got on the board in the seventh inning with four unearned runs. Senior Jack Yalowitz had the game-tying double in the eighth inning. Illinois clinched the series with another 5-4 win.
Illinois’ offense dominated on Sunday with 14 runs to beat Southern Illinois 14-5. With a 13-3 record, the Illini are off to their best 16-game start since 1989.
The Illini had 18 hits, one shy of a season high. A lot of Illini career-high hits were earned in this game: Massey with four, Ben Troike tied at four hits, Andrew Dyke and Van Scoy with three hits each — both also each scoring three times. Freshmen Branden Comia and Kellen Sarver each had their first-career three-RBI games.
Not only did Illinois have a great offense, but junior Cyrillo Watson delivered on the mound, only allowing two earned runs on four hits in six innings. Watson is now 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA.
This is the Illini’s fourth sweep of the year. Illinois’ pitching staff finished at a 2.00 ERA and a .208 batting average against. Hitters also slashed .352/.405/.495 in the three games.
Illinois heads to St. Louis University for a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday. They will return home again over the weekend to play Illinois State.
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