Midweek win preps Illinois baseball for weekend series against Miami University Ohio

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Sydney Laput

Junior baseman Kellen Sarver goes up to bat during the game against Eastern Illinois on March 8. The Illini will be playing at home on Illinois Field against Miami Ohio this weekend.

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

Miami University Ohio visits Illinois Field in Champaign for a three-game series this weekend with a 19-26 record and having lost four of their last six games.

With the Illini having lost the past two weekend series, junior Kellen Sarver says they’re “looking to get hot,” and the RedHawks are a good team to build momentum against.

Illinois is coming off of a solid victory on Tuesday night where the hitting and pitching combined for a 6-3 victory over Indiana State.

“It’s a lot easier when we build off of pitching,” Sarver said. “It builds motivation for the offense, and it’s all easier when we build off of pitching. It builds motivation for us hitters to go out and do our jobs.” 

The pitching crew has struggled mightily at times this season, but a turnaround performance Tuesday has the squad confident heading into the final three series of the regular season.

Hitting is the strength of this Illini team, which is in third in the Big Ten, and Sarver is a big contributor to that success. Recording hits in nine of his last 10 games, Sarver has been seeing the ball well.

“I know the pitchers are going to throw me junk,” Sarver said. “On Tuesday I saw a lot of change-ups.”

The lefty has also rallied six RBIs in the last four games, knocking in some clutch runs for the team.

“Yeah, my approach has just been telling myself, Don’t get too big and try to identify the pitch,’” Sarver said.

With Sarver and the offense hitting so well, they should put on a show for the fans in Champaign this weekend.

While the team was planning on hosting a fireworks show for everyone in attendance after their first game on Friday, it was postponed to May 13 due to weather concerns. The game, however, is still scheduled for 6 p.m. On Saturday, the Illini will honor veterans at “honor and serve day,” where game-worn jerseys will be auctioned with proceeds going to Dugout Club 2022 Honor and Serve. 

The Illini will showcase some pink around the ballpark on Sunday for Mother’s Day in the final game of the series. All mothers in attendance will be recognized.

With these celebrations, the team should have the support they need to continue building momentum for a playoff run. 

All three games will be televised on the Fox Sports app on B1G+ and broadcast on Champaign radio WDWS 1400-AM. Series action starts on Friday night at 6 p.m.

 

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