Illinois sweeps its first week of Big Ten competition


Austin Yattoni

Illinois outfielder Jack Yalowitz waits for the pitch during the game against Milwaukee at the Illinois Field on Wednesday, March 14.

By Tatiania Perry, Staff writer

With a clear mind ready to focus, junior outfielder Jack Yalowitz stepped up to the plate for the Illini in the 10th inning on Sunday. 

The No. 24 ranked Illinois baseball team took on Northwestern for the final matchup of the weekend. The game headed to extras where Yalowitz slammed a two-run home-run at Miller Park to finish the three-game sweep in a 4-2 win.

“It is huge,” Yalowitz said. “We have to collect as many Big Ten wins as possible.”

Illinois who is 3-0 is now tied with Michigan for the same record atop the Big Ten standings.

Junior first baseman Bren Spillane led the Illini with three hits, batting .600 for the series with two doubles, a home run, four walks, four runs and three steals.

The bulk of the game’s action took place in its final innings.

In the ninth inning, junior catcher Jeff Korte led off the inning with a single. Pinch-hitting sophomore Casey Dodge bunted pinch runner David Craan to second, a wild pitch moved Craan to third and junior third-baseman Grant Van Scoy delivered a game-tying sac fly.

To begin the 10th, Yalowitz hit what would be game-winning homer over the right-field wall after Ben Troike walked.

Sophomore Ty Weber started and pitched nearly seven innings while allowing one run on three hits.

Sophomore Relief pitcher Ryan Thompson handled the last three innings, allowing a single hit and striking out five, including three straight strikeouts after entering with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

The Illini have won 14 of their last 16 games and are now ranked No. 22 in the country.

Troike’s barehanded play

The bottom of the sixth inning in Sunday’s Northwestern game saw sophomore Ben Troike make a memorable barehanded play that ended up on SportsCenter’s Top Ten. The sophomore has been quite the stand out alongside fellow sophomore Michael Massey and Spillane this season.

National Player of the Week

Bren Spillane was named the National Player of the week by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Monday.

The first basemen was one of eight players chosen for the week.

Spillane went  9-for-14 with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs, leading Illinois to a perfect 4-0 record while reaching base at least three times in each game last week.

Spillane was also named Big Ten Player of the Week for the fourth straight week.

Schedule Change

There was a schedule change for the Illini this week. Tuesday’s game is canceled, but Illinois is looking to add another game for Wednesday.


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