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Illinois wins pivotal series against Nebraska

The series win gets the Illini above .500 in the Big Ten play.

Illinois won a three-game series in Nebraska this weekend, improving its record to 27-13.

Game 1

Illinois got off to a quick start in game one, scoring six runs in the first three innings. Freshman Cam McDonald and Kellen Sarver both had two hits, including two RBIs from McDonald.

Ace Andy Fisher had a great start, giving up only one run on three hits in seven innings pitched. Fisher improved to 5-1 on the season striking out eight.

“When (Fisher) was in the zone he was basically unhittable,” head coach Dan Hartleb told “He has done such a great job for us all year and continued that today.”

Nebraska native Grant Van Scoy had a four hit and three RBI’s game including a double that gave the Illini a 6-0 lead early. Tyler Engel closed out the last two innings scoreless to give the Illini the 8-1 win.

Game 2

Illinois got the wrong end of a walk-off in game two. Joe Acker hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cornhuskers the win.

The pitching wasn’t great for the Illini. Hartleb used five pitchers who gave up a combined nine walks and two hit by pitches, but only six hits.

“We beat ourselves,” Hartleb told “Three of their runs came off two walks and a hit by pitch. Nebraska has been struggling at the plate lately and the only way they scored was by us giving it to them, then they took advantage of it. You have to give them credit for that.”

Illinois had all of its offense in the first inning thanks to RBI’s from freshmen Sarver and McDonald. Zac Taylor added some offensive help with a solo home run in the third inning, but Illinois couldn’t put anything together after that and the Illini lost 4-3.

Game 3

Illinois found its form again in game three.

Kellen Sarver provided some late-inning heroics with a two-run double in the ninth inning to give Illinois the 6-5 win.

“We found a way to get our jobs done today,” Dan Hartleb told “There are some things we have to clean up but we win a series on the road against a Nebraska team that was on top of the conference. That’s not easy at any point. Proud of our guys for getting us through the adversity.”

Illinois got off to a quick start, but Nebraska came back to in the seventh to tie the game up at four. Sarver finished the game off in the ninth to give the Illini the go-ahead run.

Acton closed out the ninth inning to get his 14th save of the season.

Travel Issues

Jack Yalowitz was without his equipment on Friday when his bag was lost on the flight to Lincoln. Yalowitz had to borrow some teammates and coaches equipment to play and got two hits anyways.

Tweet of the Weekend

Check out Kellen Sarver’s game-winning double in game three.

He said it

“(Sarver) had a really, really good approach. He caught a mistake and drilled it. Unbelievable at-bat and a huge hit for him. Really proud of his composure.” - Hartleb, on Sarver’s game winning at-bat.

What’s next?

Illinois travels to Carbondale on Tuesday to take on Southern Illinois. Then comes back to Champaign to play Indiana State on Wednesday.

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