Illinois baseball splits series with Coastal Carolina in final matchup of road trip

By Adam Rosen, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois baseball traveled to Conway, South Carolina to take on the perennial College World Series-threatening Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers ride a hot streak, having just knocked off No. 5 Wake Forest earlier in the week, a team that dominated Illinois in the first weekend of the season.

The Chanticleers entered the weekend boasting one of the best offensive lineups in college baseball, with an OPS over 1.000. Meanwhile, the Illini have a team OPS of around .870, nothing to scoff at, but the Illini pitching would face quite the challenge on the bump.

As per usual, it would be junior right-hander Riley Gowens on the bump for the series opener. However, it would be the offense for Illinois that struck first. A pair of runs in the first followed by an opposite-field two-run shot by senior outfielder Cam McDonald brought the Illini a 4-0 lead.

Gowens did his usual, racking up strikeouts, but the Illini pitching staff could only do so much. The Chanticleers showed why they’re a top-tier program, scoring 10 runs in the seventh inning, and winning the first game by a final score of 16-8.

Game two for the Illini started out fast again, as they instantly jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning; however, the Chanticleers tied it on a leadoff home run in their half of the first. The Illini were unphased, as they jumped out to 4-1 lead in the top of the second inning after juicing the bases.

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    Freshman righty Julius Sanchez was the starter for game two, and he held the Chanticleers to only a couple of runs. Leading the offense for Illinois was sophomore infielder Ryan Moerman, who had four RBIs through just five innings. This was only the beginning of an Illini offensive surge.

    The Illini managed to take a commanding 13-3 lead, while senior righthander Joe Glassey relieved Sanchez of his pitching duties. Glassey locked it down and kept the Chanticleer’s offense in check. This win tied the series at 1-1, with the rubber match to decide it.

    Unfortunately, that rubber match would not happen, as the game was canceled due to inclement weather. The teams announced that the game would not be rescheduled.

    The Illini’s long road trip came to an abrupt end, but with a solid win over the Chanticleers they look forward to the home opener on Wednesday against Indiana State.

     

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