Illini baseball ends seven game win streak in weekend split


Illinois infielder Ben Troike hits the ball during the game against Indiana State at Illinois Field on Sept. 24.

By Tatiania Perry, Assistant sports editor

The Illinois baseball team ended a brief seven-game winning streak on Saturday against Michigan State.

The Illini touched down at Fluor Field on Friday to take on the Spartans in a two-game series, defeating them 15-4 in the first game with a strong plate presence.

On Saturday morning, Illinois took on Furman in a 14-5 victory, pushing the winning streak up to seven.

The Illini scored in seven of the nine innings, starting off with Grant Van Scoy’s RBI single in the top of the second, followed by Ben Troike’s first career homer in the top of the third.

Bren Spillane and Doran Turchin  also hit solo home runs.

Six other Illini landed multiple hits, Troike and Turchin lead the way with three each. Zac Taylor, Jack Yalowitz and Michael Massey had two hits apiece.

“First game we got very good starting pitching. We swung the bats extremely well,” said head coach Dan Hartleb. “Any time you swing that bat with balls jumping all around the ballpark, you look like you did a great job.”

Pitcher Andy Fisher went nearly six innings without allowing a hit.

In Illinois’ first two games of the First Pitch Invitational, the Illini had scored a combined 29 runs on 29 hits.

Illinois turned around and played Michigan State for the second time in the weekend, and this time Illinois fell 4-2.

Illinois came into Saturday evening’s game hitting .261, with four players hitting over .300.

“We just got beat,” Hartleb said. “The other pitcher did a really good job; he threw really well. I thought we had a lot of quality at-bats, our pitching was decent, there were just some things we had to clean up.”

Illinois was out-hit 12-3 but put up a good fight in the final two innings.

The Illini cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of a pair of walks by Spartans starting pitcher Mason Erla, ending his night. The Spartans got out of the jam with a lineout to center.

“We were playing well and we fully expect to win every game, but unfortunately, that’s not how baseball works,” Yalowitz said.

The two-run gap was short-lived, as the Spartans responded with a run after the seventh-inning stretch.

Erla limited Illinois to one hit over 6 1/3 innings, to move to 2-0 on the season.

“Yesterday they didn’t really compete well with us,” Yalowitz said. “They were very sloppy, but today they played well defensively and they pitched well.”

Turchin, Taylor and David Craan had all of the hits for Illinois.

Ty Weber allowed three runs, two earned in his nearly five innings.

Ryan Thompson and Joey Gerber came in as reliefs to finish off the game for the Illini.

“Our guys push games behind them,” Hartleb said. “They lost one but the next game is a new game. We expect to have a win streak and we will start a new one.”


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