Illinois baseball defeats Indiana State at home, stops bleeding caused by consecutive Big Ten losses

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

Illinois Field was the place to be on Tuesday night as the Illini returned home for a midweek revenge win against Indiana State, 6-3.

The Illini were coming off consecutive Big Ten series losses and searching for answers in the pitching staff, but you couldn’t tell that on Tuesday night. Junior Ryan Kutt delivered on the bump, pitching five innings, allowing two runs on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

Kutt has recently turned himself into one of the more reliable arms on the staff and paved the way for the win in his third start of 2022.

On Tuesday, the Illini bullpen showed great signs for the future, as they protected the three-run lead they were given and preserved the win.

Sophomores Jack Wessinger and Joseph Glassey set up senior Tommy Green for the save in an inspiring relief appearance combining for four innings, one hit and zero runs allowed.

“I think Kutt set the tone for us with a good performance,” Green said. “We just wanted to go right after hitters, get ahead early in the counts, and change speeds.”

Green was pleased with the pitching on Tuesday and thinks we can see more of the same in the coming weeks.

“Confidence is definitely high,” Green said. “All year we have known that we have the pieces from a talent perspective, and being confident in attacking hitters in the zone is what we will do.”

The save was Green’s third of the season on a night he worked with ease, retiring the side in order on 14 pitches.

“I was using all three pitches, fastball, slider, (and) cutter,” Green said. “Location was good with the backdoor cutter, and getting inside on the lefty were working for me.”

While the pitching staff finally got a shutdown performance, the hitting picked up right where it left off.

A five-game home run streak ended for junior Jacob Campbell on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop him from driving runs in as his first-inning sacrifice fly got the Illini on the board.

Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, junior Ryan Hampe knocked a single into right field, scoring Campbell and tying the game heading into the fifth.

A four-run fifth put the Illini ahead for good, starting with sophomore Justin Janas grounding into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.

Juniors Cam McDonald and Kellen Sarver followed with a two-RBI single and RBI double, respectively, putting the Illini ahead 6-2.

It was the second-lowest amount of runs the Illini have totaled in a win since April 9, making the stellar pitching performance that much better. 

This weekend the Illini have a three-game home series in Champaign against Miami Ohio at Illinois Field.

 

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