CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jack Yalowitz had a hectic trip to Lincoln two weekends ago during the Illini’s series win at Nebraska.
United Airlines misplaced Yalowitz’s equipment bag on the team’s trip to Nebraska, but that didn’t stop him from playing — and playing well — against the Cornhuskers.
The senior wore Cyrillo Watson’s No. 22 jersey for the first two games of the series and became the first Illini baseball player wearing that number to get a hit in 14 years.
Yalowitz lined two hits in the opener and followed that up with another single on Saturday.
The jersey was not the only thing Yalowitz had to borrow. He needed a hat, glove, bat and the rest of his uniform to play.
His teammates were able to rally around their right fielder and get him on the field before his equipment finally returned.
When his equipment could not be found, his feeling of family with his teammates never left.
“The biggest thing I’ve taken away form Illinois Baseball is that this is a family, this program,” Yalowitz said. “It’s a really close group of people and the staff and the coaches are always there to help you succeed and it has just been an unbelievable experience for me.”
Last Sunday’s contest was Yalowitz’s first game back in his own uniform with his own equipment. Upon getting his stuff back, Yalowitz did not miss a beat.
Yalowitz ended the series going 5-for-11 with two doubles, a homer, two walks, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Although losing his equipment bag may not have been his favorite moment as an Illini player, Yalowitz was able to reflect on his time in Orange and Blue.
“Honestly just being a part of this program has been awesome, I really have enjoyed every moment,” Yalowitz said. “I don’t know if I can necessarily give you one specific moment, but it’s been a really fun ride for me.”
Yalowitz is hitting .292 with five homers and 27 RBI and one Big Ten Player of the Week award this season back on March 11.
“That was cool, I just wanted to help the team win and that was a big weekend [at Grand Canyon] for us. It’s always nice to be recognized for good play but it’s definitely not something that I look to do every week. I just try to go out there and play for my team and that was kind of a bonus.”
Yalowitz also plays great defense in right field and has yet to commit an error this season.
In his career, Yalowitz has 22 homers and has driven in well over 100 runs for the Illini.
But his career is not over yet.
“Our goals are to make the Big ten tournament and then the NCAA tournament, the only goals I try to have is catch barrels at the plate.”
When thinking about life after Illinois Baseball, the lefty kept it brief.
“My plans are to go pro.”
Yalowitz’s senior day is this Sunday against Purdue and will miss graduation to play one final game in Champaign in orange and blue.