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Illinois welcomes No. 19 Indiana for crucial conference clash

Illini continue home stand against the Hoosiers

Illinois puts its 8-7 conference record on the line this weekend at home against the 11-4 Indiana Hoosiers.

The Illini enter this weekend series already with one win and one loss this week, getting clobbered against Southern Illinois 12-3 on Tuesday night and beating Indiana State 5-2 on Wednesday.

No. 19 Indiana looks to overtake Michigan for tops in the conference, while Illinois is attempting to continue to climb up the standings.

For their second of seven straight games against Indiana teams, the Illini look to start the series on a good note, sending redshirt senior Andy Fisher to the mound on Friday.

Fisher leads the Illini with five wins and boasts a 2.98 ERA. The Illini depend on Fisher to pound the zone and induce weak contact, allowing him to go far into games. Fisher has yet to allow a first-inning run and is second in the Big Ten in batting average against (.203).

Saturday will feature the 11th-ranked ERA in the Big Ten with Ty Weber (2.85) on the bump. Weber looks for his fourth win of the year against the Hoosiers.

Cyrillo Watson will be on the mound for the Illini on Sunday, trying to become the second Illini pitcher to reach five wins.

The Hoosiers have won 23 of 29 games and the Illini have won seven of their last nine ballgames.

Who’s Hot

Zac Taylor- Taylor has been on fire as of late, with eight hits in his last five games. Taylor has been a major producer for the Illini, especially since returning from injury. From the three-spot in the order, Taylor looks to continue to wreak havoc against Big Ten arms.

Grant Van Scoy- Van Scoy is right back on track after snapping his 20+ on-base streak, having reached in his last few games. Van Scoy has not only tallied seven hits in his last five games, but four of them have been doubles. Van Scoy is near the tops on the both the team and the conference in slugging percentage and looks to keep that up this weekend.

Cam McDonald- Cam McDonald has been a run-producing machine all season for the Illini. McDonald is averaging one RBI per game in his last five contests. McDonald is not only the only Illini hitter with at least 30 RBIs, but he ranks 10th in the Big Ten in the category.

Garrett Acton- Fresh off his single-season program-record 15th save, Garrett Acton is feeling it on the mound for the Illini. Leading the conference and almost the nation in saves, Acton continues to improve his velocity, which was up to 93-94 on Wednesday night.

Who’s Not

Pitching staff- Already in two games this week, the Illini have issued 21 free passes, 15 walks and six HBP. Command will be crucial in this series against Indiana.

Ben Troike- Despite lining a go-ahead base hit on Wednesday, Troike stands 3-for-18 recently. Troike looks to get things going at the top of the order for the Illini.

Around the Bases

First Base: Friday’s game is Bleacher Bum BBQ, which includes a free barbecue for the first 500 fans followed by fireworks after the game.

Second Base: Saturday’s game is Derby Day, where there will be horse-on-a-stick races.

Third Base: Sunday’s game is GOAT day, with a petting zoo being brought to Illinois field.

Home Plate: The Illini have been great at home this season. In 16 games, the Illini have been victorious in 13 of them.

How to Watch

Friday’s game is at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s will be at 3 p.m. The finale on Sunday will start at 1 p.m. and all games can be streamed on BTN Plus.

What’s Next

Following this series, the Illini welcome another Big Ten team from Indiana in Purdue for their final three home games of the season.

Cam McDonald walks off field after his first inning RBI single Wednesday night.

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