Hudson among five Illini to receive Big Ten honors



By Steve Contorno

Center fielder Kyle Hudson led a list of five Illini athletes to receive recognition from the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday. Hudson was named first-team All-Big Ten while the double-play combo of shortstop Brandon Wikoff, second baseman Joe Bonadonna and designated hitter Daniel Webb were named second-team All-Big Ten. Sophomore starter Kevin Manson was listed on the third-team All-Big Ten.

Hudson’s honors come after a conference season in which he reached base the majority of his plate appearances, posting a .522 on-base percentage. The Mattoon, Ill., native also broke the Big Ten record for runs scored in a conference season with 40. He led all Illini in OBP, average runs scored and stolen bases.

Bonadonna, Wikoff and Webb, who consistently make up the lineup’s two, three and five hitters, respectively, all batted well above .350 on the season. Bonadonna and Wikoff also were among the conference leaders at their respective positions in fielding percentage. Webb showed off his skills as a contact hitter with an eye for the strike zone this season, only striking out six times, making him the fourth toughest player to strike out in the nation as of May 12.

Manson, decidedly the team’s top starter, leads the Illini in season and conference wins. The sophomore from Park Ridge, Ill., also won four consecutive conference games, defeating Minnesota, Penn State, Northwestern and Ohio State during that span.

All five will see action in Wednesday’s Big Ten Tournament opener against Ohio State. Manson will start on the mound for the fourth-seeded Illini.

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