Illinois splits on opening weekend after cancellations


Austin Yattoni

Illinois outfielder Doran Turchin swings at the pitch during the game against Indiana State at Illinois Field on Saturday, September 24, 2017

By Gavin Good, Assistant sports editor

After the Illinois baseball team had its road trip to Beaumont, Texas, canceled due to poor weather that caused dangerous flight conditions, the team traveled out to St. Louis instead.

Its opponents changed from Lamar, Texas Southern and No. 22 Missouri State to South Dakota State and Austin Peay.

However, the weather was once again a problem, and on Saturday, the opener against South Dakota State was canceled.

Illinois split its remaining two games at St. Louis University on Sunday, defeating South Dakota State 5-2 and losing to Austin Peay 2-0.

Transfer pitchers shine in Illini debut

Redshirt-junior pitcher Andy Fisher, who sat out the 2017 season after transferring from Eastern Illinois, made his Illinois debut on Sunday against South Dakota State.

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Fisher, a left-hander, pitched four scoreless innings, struck out four batters and walked one against the Jackrabbits.

Sunday was also the first time in an Illinois uniform for Sean Leland, a right-hander who transferred from Louisville and had to sit last season out. Leland pitched for only a third of an inning, but he was awarded the win as starting pitcher Ty Weber came out before pitching five full innings in the bottom of the fourth.

Weber threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs. He struck out three batters and walked three before being removed in the fifth inning after giving up two runs.

Head coach Dan Hartleb was particularly happy with the performances of his relievers.

“I thought the relievers threw really well,” Hartleb said. “I thought a couple of guys came in and got things done for us.”

Hitting holds Illini back

Ben Troike had three RBIs on three hits and Doran Turchin hit a solo home run, but the Illini struggled to hit as a whole on Sunday.

Illinois failed to score a run against Austin Peay, only coming up with five hits. They left six runners stranded on base, and the only player to record more than one hit was right fielder Jack Yalowitz.

Hartleb said the team has to hit consistently if it is going to get the hits needed to win games.

“I was not pleased with our offensive production,” Hartleb said. “We’ve got to find guys who are going to hit on a regular basis. That will (happen) over the next few weeks.”

Illinois did not have good pitch selection at the plate, something Hartleb said contributed to the team’s struggles.

“We weren’t selective at the plate,” Hartleb said. “We swung at too many pitches that weren’t good pitches in certain situations. We need to clean that up to be better offensively.”


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