Illini baseball loses big to Indiana

By Peter Zervakis

Sophomore Phil Haig got the start and gave up seven runs and a disappointing Illini offense cost Illinois the game, 14-4.

The No. 26 Illinois baseball team lost 14-4 at home in the first of a three-game series with Indiana (11-15, 2-1 Big Ten) on Friday night.

Sophomore Phil Haig got the start on the mound for the Illini (17-6, 3-1 Big Ten), but it proved to be a rather bumpy one. Haig gave up seven runs – six of them earned — before being relieved by sophomore Lee Zerrusen after just three innings of work. Haig was charged with his first loss of the season.

Doubles by sophomore Casey McMurray and junior Aaron Johnson gave Illinois a 2-1 lead after the first inning. But a surge of offense from Indiana in the third, as well as a fourth-inning home run by junior Josh Phegley, meant the Hoosiers opened up a 9-3 lead heading to the fifth. Indiana then made it 11-3 in a seventh inning, highlighted by sophomore Jerrud Sabourin’s double, and another Phegley homer in the ninth merely added style points to the victory.

Phegley finished the day 3-for-4 with five RBIs to go along with his two home runs, and left fielder Michael Earley, a junior, batted 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs for the Hoosiers.

Illinois’ offense was nowhere near as explosive as Indiana’s, but junior shortstop Brandon Wikoff batted an impressive 4-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Senior third baseman Dominic Altobelli also batted 4-for-5 for Illinois.

Freshman Blake Monar started at pitcher for the Hoosiers and put on a show for the fans that had donned crimson and made the trip to Illinois Field. Monar went seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts en route to picking up his third win of the year.