Illinois tops No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 23 Oklahoma State


Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Senior pitcher Garrett Acton celebrates with sophomore catcher Jacob Campbell after defeating Oklahoma State 4-2 at Frisco, Texas, on Saturday. Illinois picked up wins against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State and fell to the University of California, Los Angeles this weekend.

By Rich Eberwein, Staff Writer

Illinois baseball had a successful outing at the Frisco Classic, finishing second among all teams, after going 2-1 on the weekend against all ranked teams. The team beat No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 23 Oklahoma State on Friday and Saturday, respectively. On Sunday, the team lost to No.1 University of California,Los Angeles. The team’s record improved to 5-4 on the season after the weekend.

On Friday, Illinois baseball handed No. 13 Texas A&M its first loss of the season at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, with a single run crossing the plate in the game in a nail-biting pitcher’s duel. 

Illinois’ senior ace Ty Weber was given the ball and fired 6.2 innings to edge Texas A&M southpaw Asa Lacy, who threw six innings and struck out 11 Illini. Weber walked one batter, struck out three and scattered three hits across his outing. Sophomore Ryan Kutt was credited with the win, as he was the pitcher of record when sophomore shortstop Branden Comia plated junior outfielder Taylor Jackson with an RBI single. Senior Garrett Acton picked up the save after facing the minimum in the ninth. The game also marked head coach Dan Hartleb’s 450th win as the Illini’s skipper.  

Illinois got back to work in game two of the Frisco Classic on Saturday, beating No. 23 Oklahoma State, 4-2. The offense collected at least one hit in every inning, finishing with 12. 

“This was the best offensive day we’ve had,” Hartleb said.  “We’ve made great strides, and I’m really happy with how we’ve played.”

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Branden Comia again impressed when he smacked a triple in his first at-bat and a solo home run in the third inning. 

“It shows we can hang with anyone in the country,” Comia said.

Illini juniors Taylor Jackson and Alex Steinbach, sophomores Kellen Sarver and Jacob Campbell and freshman Danny Doligale also had multi-hit games. 

On the mound, sophomore Ty Rybarczyk and freshman Cole Kirschsieper combined to give up two runs in 8.1 innings, which included a first-inning home run and then seven straight scoreless innings until the next Cowboy run in the ninth. Acton relieved Kirschsieper in the ninth and threw nine pitches to record his second save of the tournament.  

The third game of the weekend decided first and second place in the Frisco Classic on Saturday. In that third game, the Illini lost to the undefeated UCLA Bruins, 14-1. UCLA put on an offensive showcase, scoring 12 runs in their last four innings, while the Illini could not put up much offense at all, scoring only one run the entire game. That run came off the bat of Sarver in the first inning, as his double brought in Jackson.

Sophomore Aidan Maldonado got the start in the game, giving up six earned runs over his 4.1 innings pitched. Senior Ryan Schmitt, freshman Grant Leader and freshman Alex Vera all pitched in relief giving up a combined eight runs.

UCLA broke the game open in the fifth inning, as they extended their 2-1 lead to 6-1. UCLA’s offense kept churning out runs after that without any answers from Illinois’ bats.

The Illinois baseball team will be home for one game against Chicago State on Tuesday, before heading on the road to North Carolina and playing a three game weekend series against Elon.


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