Baseball downs Iowa in opening round of Big Ten Tournament

By Steve Contorno

The Illinois baseball team took care of Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday.

The No. 5-seeded Illini jumped out to an early lead in Ann Arbor, Mich., scoring two runs in the first and then again in the second inning. The Orange and Blue added eight more runs to defeat the No. 4-seeded Hawkeyes 12-3.

Tanner Roark continued his success against Big Ten teams, winning his seventh game of the season against a conference opponent.

Designated hitter Daniel Webber drove in the first two runs on a double to right center. Kyle Hudson’s triple scored Ryan Hastings in the second, and Hudson then scored on a Brandon Wikoff single.

Roark threw his first career complete game, allowing nine hits and 13 base runners. The defense behind Roark was stellar, tying a single-game record with five double plays, none more important than when the Illini turned two in the fourth after Roark allowed back-to-back singles with no outs.

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    After the Hawkeyes scored three runs in the eighth, the Illini added some insurance in their half of the ninth, scoring six more runs on four hits and an error.

    The win was Illinois’ first conference tournament win since 2001.

    The Illini will play in the semifinals Thursday against either Michigan or Minnesota.