Baseball falls in Big Ten opener

The Illinois baseball team dropped its Big Ten opener 16-9 against Penn State on Friday night in Champaign. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning, and the Illini never led in the game.

Starter Will Strack struggled on the mound, taking the loss after giving up seven runs in four innings of work. The Illini bullpen wasn’t much better, as Brian de la Torriente, John Anderson and Wes Braun each gave up three runs as well.

Trailing 8-3 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Illini used a four-run inning to pull within one. But the Nittany Lions scored three in the sixth and two in the seventh to seal the win.

Brandon Hohl led the Illinois offense by going 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run. Pete Cappetta, Craig Lutes and Josh Parr had three hits apiece. Illinois falls to 9-10, 0-1 in the Big Ten. Penn State is 11-13, 1-0 in conference.