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Illinois splits Mom’s Day doubleheader vs. Maryland

Illini couldn’t salvage the series.

FightingIllini.com

Champaign, lll. — Illinois Baseball split a doubleheader on Saturday against Maryland after a disappointing loss Friday night. Illinois earned its first Big Ten win but lost the series against the Terrapins.

Game One

Illinois found itself in another pitching duel in its 5-1 win.

Ty Weber had another quality start, pitching 7.2 innings giving up only one run off of a home run. Most importantly Weber was efficient on the mound, throwing a total of 81 pitches for 62 strikes.

“Today was just one of those days where I went out there and just tried to throw strikes,” Weber said. “I know we have such a great defense behind me, again no errors, it’s just as easy as that.”

The offense struggled early and missed on a great opportunity in the fourth inning. With bases loaded with no outs, Cam McDonald grounded into a fielder’s choice double play at home and third. Jack Yalowitz couldn’t capitalize with runners on second and first and Maryland got out of the inning without giving up a run.

Grant Van Scoy tripled in the fifth and freshman Jacob Cambell drove him home with a fielder’s choice to start the scoring for Illinois. The duo teamed up again in the seventh when Van Scoy tripled and Campbell homered to extend the lead to three.

Van Scoy gave Illinois some insurance runs in the eighth driving in two runs on a bases-loaded double. He finished off the game with three hits, two RBI’s, and two runs.

“Today I came up in some opportunities with runners in scoring position and I put a good swing on the ball and good things happened today,” Van Scoy said.

Sean Leland and Garrett Acton polished off the last two innings to get the first win of the series.

Game Two

The Illinois offense was stagnant again in an 8-4 loss.

Maryland struck first in the third inning thanks to a suicide squeeze bunt for a single from AJ Lee followed by a three-run home run from Randy Bednar. Zac Taylor responded with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Kellen Sarver.

A Yalowitz bloop single with the bases loaded got the Illini bats rolling in the sixth inning. Van Scoy got a hit to drive another run in and a Jeff Korte sacrifice fly brought the final run and Illinois stranded two.

Maryland responded with a four-run seventh. Bednar got another RBI hit to take back the lead followed by another three-run home run this time from Maxwell Costes.

After that, the Illini couldn’t catch up. The team was unable to capitalize on a bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning.

“I was disappointed and I have been for a couple of weeks, with the quality of bats that we have especially with guys in scoring position,” Hartleb said.

Both the starting pitching and bullpen had a poor outing for the Illini in the nightcap. Cyrillo Watson got through the fifth inning before getting pulled in the sixth after giving up four runs. Ryan Schmitt had an uncharacteristically bad inning in relief giving up 4 runs on just four hits.

Moments that mattered

Ducks on the pond: Illinois left too many people on base Saturday. The Illini had failed to score runs with men in scoring position a couple of times including a bases loaded with one out situation in the seventh. Quality of at-bats, as Hartleb said, have to get better for Illinois to have a chance at getting to the tournament.

They’re Back

Zac Taylor, who has been out with injury came back to play this weekend. Taylor has a batting average of .379 this season and could be the offensive spark the Illini need to get them into the tournament.

Michael Massey returned to the infield as well this weekend. The former Gold Glove winner has been in the designated hitter spot this year recovering from an injury. Branden Comia did a nice job in his absence, but Illini are fortunate to have him back at second base.

Tweet of the Game

Check out Jason Campbell’s first-career home run as an Illini.

He said it

“We got our backs against the wall a little bit. We need to start winning big ten games, we have only scored 17 runs in six games and we haven’t pitched well in the bullpen or starts.” - Hartleb, on Big Ten play.

Up next

Illinois takes on Illinois State in Normal on Tuesday then travels to Minneapolis to start a series with Minnesota on Friday.