After a loss to Clemson in the NCAA regional opener for the Illini, they headed into a double-elimination game against Jacksonville State, knowing that this was their only chance to extend their post season.
Things were going well for the Illini during the top of the second when Jacksonville State’s Isaiah Magwood lost control — giving up three straight walks in the inning, ending it with 45 pitches. The Illini gladly took advantage of the walks by getting two runs in the inning — one from a SAC fly from Branden Comia and a two out RBI single from Michael Massey.
Fisher did well for the Illini in the second inning — ending it with 29 pitches and 17 strikes total. Fisher also did well defensively, getting the lead runner out at second base in the first inning and running to cover 1st base in the bottom of the third for another out.
It was quiet for both teams during the third, fourth and fifth innings due to well-rounded pitching from both Magwood and Fisher.
Magwood went for 100 pitches and six walks when the Gamecocks decided it was time for a pitching change with Van Scoy on base. Jeff Korte gave the Illini the insurance runs they needed, hitting a home run to right field, doubling the Illini’s score to four.
By the end of the 6th inning, Fisher retired 11 in a row. Getting the job done and letting his offense have a chance to put the game out of reach.
The Illini saw their lead vanish in the bottom of the 7th inning after a pair of two-run home runs by Jacksonville State.
Fisher was taken out of the game with his final line being: 6.2 IP, six hits, four earned runs, no walks, six strikeouts in 97 pitches. Besides the 7th, he gave the Illini every chance to win the game. Ryan Schmitt came in for Fisher.
Sarver stepped up for the Illini with a solo home run to pull one ahead of the Gamecocks. Yalowitz snuck in a hit just inside the third base line, giving him a double. Jacksonville State called for a review, but the first touch on the dirt was inside of the line — the hit still being fair.
Acton came in to close— giving up a two run double and then Naismith scored on a throwing error, giving the Gamecocks three in the 8th.
In the top of the 9th, Michalak singled through the right side, Comia came up to bat and Michalak stole second — he was called out but after review of the play, he was ruled safe—Comia was walked after. Massey came up and put up a SAC bunt. The Illini had two runners in scoring position, but couldn’t capitalize ending the game 7-5, Jacksonville State.
Unfortunately Illinois season came to an end with a record of 36-21.
Jacksonville State won their first ever NCAA regional game.