Illinois baseball welcomes Indiana State for a regional rivalry, looks to stabilize season

Junior+pitcher+Ty+Rybarczyk+executes+a+pitch+during+the+game+against+Eastern+Illinois+on+March+8.+Rybarczyk+has+only+given+up+two+runs+in+his+last+14+innings

Sydney Laput

Junior pitcher Ty Rybarczyk executes a pitch during the game against Eastern Illinois on March 8. Rybarczyk has only given up two runs in his last 14 innings

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

Illinois baseball returns home on Tuesday for the final midweek game of the season against Indiana State.

The Sycamores are having a great season and defeated the Illini on April 19 by a score of 12-6. This will be a big game for the Illini, who have lost five of their last eight and are stumbling late in the season.

A series loss to a mediocre Indiana team brought the Illini down to third in the Big Ten and three games out of first, making their chances of a one seed in the Big Ten tournament slim.

In addition, quality pitching performances have been hard to come by for the Illini in recent weeks, and if that doesn’t change soon, the team could run into some trouble in the postseason.

One of the only consistent pitchers on the staff right now is junior Ty Rybarczyk, who has only given up two runs in his last 14 innings.

“Every time I touch the rubber, I’m just trying to get up there and be myself,” Rybarczyk said. “We’ve dropped two series in a row, but we can definitely get rolling again, and when we are playing well, we are hard to beat.”

Rybarczyk knows the team is in a rough patch but is confident the Illini will prevail and make a run in the Big Ten. With the season closing fast, he knows the team needs to improve in some areas, especially pitching as a team.

“Hopefully, the guys struggling can turn it around, and the guys throwing well can keep it up,” Rybarczyk said. “We just gotta take it one game at a time and go from there.”

The Illini offense has scored 72 runs in the last eight games and is hitting the ball really well over that span heading into their final games.

Junior Jacob Campbell has been tearing the cover off the ball with a home run in five consecutive games now. Fellow junior Cam McDonald continues to get on base, and sophomore Justin Janas is producing as well.

With the amount of runs they are putting on the board it should be tough to lose, but the team is counting on more players, especially the pitching staff, to step up.

The game will be broadcast on B1G+, and you can listen on the radio at WDWS 1400-AM.

 

@benfader7

[email protected]illinimedia.com