Illinois baseball loses heartbreaker to Army in last inning

By Peter Zervakis

The No. 19 Illinois baseball team lost its first game at the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational on Friday morning in a 9-8 nailbiter against Army (5-6).

The No. 19 Illinois baseball team lost its first game at the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational on Friday morning in a 9-8 nailbiter against Army (5-6).

Senior third baseman Dominic Altobelli had a nice game for the Illini (11-3), batting 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Freshman Willie Argo hit 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs, continuing his impressive play of late. Argo now has five home runs on the year.

The Black Knights led for most of the game, with Illinois trailing 6-3 after eight innings. A five-run rally in the ninth gave the Illini an 8-6 lead, but Army third baseman J.P. Polchinski ended the game with a walk-off homer that negated the Orange and Blue’s impressive comeback. Polchinski, a senior, went 1-for-2 on the day with three RBIs.

Illini pitcher Phil Haig (3-0) started and allowed a season-high three earned runs, though the loss was charged to sophomore reliever Nick Chmielewski.