Illinois has one last series of the regular season before heading to the Big Ten Tournament. The Illini will play Michigan State for a Thursday-Saturday series before leaving Monday for the tournament in Omaha.
The Illini (34-16, 13-8 Big Ten) are coming off a series sweep against Purdue, pushing Illinois to No. 23 in the D1Baseball poll and No. 21 in the RPI, both the highest marks in the Big Ten. Although Illinois has earned their spot in the Big Ten Tournament, its exact seeding is yet to be determined — they could be as high as the first seed or as low as the seventh seed — depending on how the rest of the Big Ten Conference finishes the regular season.
Michigan State (19-31, 7-13 Big Ten) is coming off of its best series of the season, taking two of three games against No. 24 Iowa. Despite not having the best Big Ten record, all of their Big Ten wins were from three straight Big Ten series wins (Northwestern, at Purdue, at Iowa). The Spartans are tied for 11th in Big Ten standings, and they need this series to go well for them if they want to make it to the Big Ten Tournament.
Andy Fisher will start the series on the mound. Fisher put together a great outing against Purdue going 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K. He is also fourth in the Big Ten in batting average against (.200), fourth in innings (81.2), sixth in strikeouts (82) and 10th in ERA (2.53). Fisher has proved to be valuable and reliable on the mound, so there’s no question that he’ll be perform well for Illinois on Thursday.
Friday and Saturday’s starters will be Ty Weber and Cyrillo Watson for the Illini.
Weber went 5.2 innings against Purdue on Saturday, but the Illini’s defense didn’t allow for Weber to go much longer. He is eighth in the Big Ten in ERA (2.48) and 10th in batting average against (.218).
Watson will look to get a long outing as he only pitched 2.2 innings against Purdue. He has a record of 4-2 and an ERA of 3.82.
Senior Grant Van Scoy is having a career year, ranking third in the Big Ten in batting average at .351. Van Scoy is just six points behind Michigan’s Jordan Brewer for the Big Ten lead.
HOW TO WATCH
All three games can be streamed on BTN Plus. Thursday’s begins at 4:30 p.m., Friday’s at 5:35 p.m. and Saturday’s at 12:05 p.m.
Illinois will head to Omaha on Monday for the Big Ten Tournament.
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