The Big Ten Tournament starts this Wednesday, where Illinois will play Maryland at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. With the tournament just a few days away, let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not.
Grant Van Scoy - Van Scoy has had a great year for Illinois, and he leads the team in on-base percentage, but had a rough series against the Spartans this weekend. He was only able to get one hit this weekend in nine at-bats. Van Scoy had a nice weekend last week against Purdue and is sixth in the Big Ten in batting average, so this slump likely won’t continue into the tournament.
Kellen Sarver - Sarver is another player that has had a tremendous season, but has struggled recently. Sarver was hitting .338 in non-conference play but has only hit .268 since Illinois started conference play. Regardless of how he’s done lately, he has been a crucial part filling in after Bren Spillane was drafted.
Michael Massey - Massey has been the engine to the Illinois offense. Batting in the three-hole, Massey has been firing on all pistons by consistently batting above .300 all year long. Massey hasn’t made an error since his freshman year and has been the cornerstone to an amazing Illinois defense. Consistency in the lineup and fantastic fielding will help the Illini on their postseason run.
☑️ Big Ten record for fielding percentage in conference games pic.twitter.com/PpPeuaOGHe— Illinois Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) May 18, 2019
Cam McDonald - McDonald has stepped up as a freshman. His consistency at-bat was evident this weekend when he got three hits and an RBI in 12 plate appearances. McDonald has made a difference driving in runs in the five-hole for Illinois.
Jacob Campbell - Freshman have been a big part of Illinois’s success this year and Campbell is one of those first-years. Campbell had a fantastic series against the Spartans when he hit an average of .429 with an on-base percentage of .588. He has also done an impressive job as a freshman catcher with an upperclassman pitching staff.
Zac Taylor - Taylor could have gone to the MLB last year, but instead of leaving Illinois after a disappointing end to the 2018 season, he came back to lead the team to the postseason. Taylor had a great series against the Spartans when he got five hits, including two home runs. Taylor has put together an All-Big Ten season, batting .344 with 10 home runs. Illinois will need that kind of production in the postseason from its clean-up hitter.
Branden Comia - Another freshman that has helped the Illini is Branden Comia. Head coach Dan Hartleb was forced to go with Comia after shortstop Ben Troike got injured for the rest of the season. Comia hit two home runs and drove in five runs this weekend against the Spartans. And he has done a remarkable job filling in for an injured Troike and hopefully will continue these kinds of performances in the postseason.
Illinois will play its first game of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday vs. Maryland at 9 a.m., with a full tournament preview coming to TCR on Tuesday.
For vintage inspired, high quality, and well-designed University of Illinois apparel, check out Fourth and Kirby, and look for the TCR Collection while you’re at it!