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Illinois finishes month on road at Grand Canyon

The Illini lost three of four last weekend.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois will look to break the losing stump that it hit last weekend as they travel to Grand Canyon (6-6) for a Friday to Sunday series.

The Illini are now 7-3 after breaking their winning streak with an 11-3 loss to Coastal Carolina last Friday. They won the following day 5-4 against Northeastern and then had two back-to-back losses against Connecticut and Northeastern again.

The one win from the weekend came from the help of junior pitcher Ty Weber, who pitched a no-hitter through 5.1 innings against Northeastern that paved the path for an Illinois win.

The Illini’s lack of offense and poor pitching amounted to three of their losses. At the end of the weekend, the Illini earned some individual notices. Senior Michael Michalak has a batting average of .412 and freshman Branden Comia started and reached base in the first nine Illinois games.

When asked about improvements for this weekend Comia told the website, “I want to be more consistent with my at bats and not miss as many pitches as I did this past weekend”

Comia went 1-for-14, and has an amounted an on-base percentage of .367 and slugging percentage of .333.

Other than a rough weekend at bat, Comia has proved to have earned all of his starts and has been a key player for the Illini team.

Considering that he is a young guy starting for a Division I club, Comia said that “the biggest changes with me have been mentally and the way I think about the game and going about playing it.

“Having a lot more fun and just letting the little things go and not worrying about them.”

This weekend in Phoenix is going to the first time Illinois has played in the area since 1958. Last season, GCU traveled to Champaign where the Illini lost two games in the three-game series. Due to the four games over the past weekend, the team was only able to get in one practice this week.

“It was a choice to play four games on the weekend and only have one practice this week,” said head coach Dan Hartleb. “The one thing about this group, a majority of the guys even when you don’t practice, they find a way to get some work in.”

Illinois is currently ranked No. 30 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.

This will be the last time Illinois will be on the road before its home opener on March 15 against Southern Illinois.

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