CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Andy Fisher came into this weekend series against Indiana just how you would want any pitcher — strong and confident. Fisher ended the top of the first with a quick 1-2-3. And he continued to throw eight shutout innings, leading Illinois to beat No. 19 Indiana at Illinois Field on Friday night.
“Every win is a big win” said Head Coach Dan Hartleb.
Indiana’s right hand pitcher Pauly Milto also came out strong, giving the Illini’s offense and Fisher a challenge. It turned into a pitcher’s duel as both Milto and Fisher were effective, both pitching a shutout through five innings until Jack Yalowitz came home from the help of Korte’s flyout to centerfield, scoring the first run of the night and ending Milto’s shutout.
Fisher was making hitters swing hard at the wind all night.
“All [Indiana] really tries to do is hit home runs and they’ll strike out a lot because of that,” Fisher said.
Fisher threw a season-high nine strikeouts and is third in the Big Ten with 79 punchouts.
After giving up a walk to Kellen Sarver and a hit up the middle by Yalowitz, Milto was taken out of the game and Tommy Sommer came in for Indiana during the bottom of the 6th.
But even a fresh pitcher out of the bullpen couldn't stop the Illinois offense.
Yalowitz singles up the middle (2-1) and Sarver advances to second. Two on. One out.— Mariah Guzman (@MariahLGuzman) May 4, 2019
Milto exits, Sommer comes in for Indiana. #Illini 1, Indiana 0 | BOT 6
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fisher walked the Hoosiers’ Ryan Fineman, then Matt Gorski singled out to left field with two outs, advancing Fineman to second. Hartleb walked up to the mound and everyone thought Fisher might done for the night but Fisher stayed strong on the mound — finishing the top of the 8th after Lloyd grounded out to Fisher and he ran it to first himself, for the safe out.
Shutout still standing.
Do it yourself, Fish! Eight shutout from @andfisher8. #Illini 3, Indiana 0 | MID 8 pic.twitter.com/wVu7IdLN7x— Illinois Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) May 4, 2019
Illinois scored its fourth run in the bottom of the eighth after a throwing error by Indiana’s second baseman Drew Ashley, allowing Grant Van Scoy to get on base and David Craan to score on an unearned run.
Although I’m sure Illinois fans would have loved to see Fisher finish a shutout, the Illini decided to put the program’s single-season saves leader, Garrett Acton, on the mound in the top of the ninth.
“I could feel that I was missing with my pitches in the eighth inning,” Fisher said. “So I knew it was probably time to come out.”
Acton came in and finished out the shutout for Fisher with a 1-2-3 ninth, just how the game started. The Illinois crowd cheered for the Illini’s second shutout of the season.
Indiana and Illinois are back at Illinois field on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. to finish out the series.
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