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Illinois shortstop Ben Troike out for the year

Illinois Baseball will be without its leadoff man down the stretch.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois Baseball shortstop Ben Troike is out fort the season with a broken thumb. The junior shortstop was hit by a pitch in the thumb leading off in the bottom of the eighth against Indiana last Saturday.

“We just move forward,” said Head Coach Dan Hartleb. “We have had a major injury the entire season, there’s been someone who’s been out that has been a major part of out program. This groups done a great job of stepping up.”

Troike has been an important part of both the Illini offense and defense. Troike was hitting .260 leading off for the Illini and has only committed four errors, good for a fielding percentage of .975 this season.

Hartleb will look to freshman utility man Branden Comia to fill in Troike’s spot. Comia previously stepped up for the Illini when Michael Massey went down with a back injury, and he made the start in Sunday’s series finale at shortstop with Troike out.

On Comia filling in, Massey said: “I’m really confident. His worth ethic is second-to-none.”

Comia has hit .232 in 124 plate appearances and has only committed 5 errors for a fielding percentage of .965.

Illinois hosts Purdue for its final home series of the season this weekend.