Davis, Roof recognized for quality performance on field

By Jason Grodsky

Illinois junior catcher Lars Davis was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for his effort behind and at the plate on the Illini’s spring trip in Bradenton, Fla.

Davis earned the honor for the first time after hitting .680 in the Illini’s six games, belting four home runs, driving in 10 RBIs and scoring 10 runs for the Illini. Davis’ hot streak has also bumped his average up to .492, which leads the Big Ten and is fourth best in the nation.

“Lars has learned to be more patient and has been putting good swings on pitches that are up in the zone that he has been able to drive,” head coach Dan Hartleb said.

The Illini junior backstop hit .857 (12-for-14) in the Illini’s final three games of the trip and recorded four hits in three of the Illini’s games last week. He also was a force behind the plate, throwing out two of three would-be base stealers.

Davis is riding a career-best eight-game hit streak and is heading an Illini offensive attack that is leading the Big Ten in hitting with a .337 team batting average.

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“It’s a nice award to get, but more importantly I’m glad we’re winning going into the Big Ten season,” Davis said.

“I’ve been seeing the ball well and all I’m trying to do is help the team any way I can,” he said.

Davis became the 20th Illini player to win the award since it’s creation in the 1990 season and is the first to win it since senior first baseman Mike Rhode won it on April 25, 2005.

Roof receives honor for performance during the summer

Illini senior shortstop Shawn Roof was named to the Coastal Plain League All-Decade team for his performances in the summer league the past two years. The All-Decade team honors the top players at each position who have played in the CPL during its first 10 years.

Roof is joined on the All-Decade team by 25 other players from the CPL.

Among the 26 man team are nine Major League Baseball players including Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, Baltimore outfielder Jason Dubois and Tampa Bay infielder Ty Wigginton.

In his two years in the league, Roof was a two-time All-Star for the Fayetteville SwampDogs and scored a total of 61 runs while knocking in 37 RBIs and picking up 35 stolen bases in his two seasons. Roof also led Fayetteville with a .315 average in 2005.