Illinois baseball sits down with Illini Drive

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Editor’s note: The following is a partial transcript from WPGU’s sports talk show Illini Drive interview with Illinois baseball players Adam Walton, Will Krug and Ryan Castellanos.

Illini Drive: Without further ado, we’ve got the guys from the baseball team here, and they came in from a luxurious flight out of Penn State. Tell us about that, getting back from Penn State. There’s no direct route to get from Happy Valley to anywhere, so how was that flight, trying to get back?

Adam Walton: It was interesting. We went from Happy Valley to Philadelphia, and we had our own flight. It was the 35 guys on the team that traveled and the coaches.

ID: Was there a lot of space on that flight?

AW: No, it was a small little propeller plane.

Will Krug: I don’t think it was chartered. I just think it was full.

Ryan Castellanos: It was a compact flight. Every seat was taken, I believe, and it was the entire baseball team, so that was pretty cool.

AW: We had 45 minutes to an hour of layover in Philadelphia, and then we flew into Indianapolis, and then took a bus to Champaign.

ID: You got in how late?

All: About two in the morning.

ID: Coming off of a sweep this weekend against Penn State, the second-straight road sweep for you, you’ve been playing well. What’s been the key to your success and a 9-3 Big Ten start?

RC: I think it’s been more consistency; in the beginning of the season, we’d have a good pitching performance and then get shut out offensively. Then we’d give up some runs, and our offense wouldn’t come through for us. Now, we’re clicking on all cylinders, so we know what’s really working for us, and we’re starting to win some games.

AW: Cleaning things up like Ryan said. The first weekend, hitters were doing great, pitchers couldn’t find it. The second weekend hitters couldn’t find it, and the pitchers were doing great. I think just cleaning things up, playing together and playing to our strengths has really helped us the last few weeks and really helped us in Big Ten play.

WK: Yeah last time I was interviewed, I was trying to say we played in sync, and I made up a word. I told him we were playing in synchrisoty, but I think that is what we are doing.

ID: You guys talked about pitching. It was supposed to be a strong point going in. Then your No. 1 starter, the guy who was supposed to be your Friday starter, Kevin Duchene, goes down right away. What was that like when you found out Duchene was going to be out for an extended amount of time? What was that like for your pitchers?

RC: We felt OK because we have a lot of experience on this staff. It’s a young staff. We have one senior: Ronnie Muck. We have a lot of games, a lot of innings between us — we have regional experience. So we felt good and we felt confident. Of course, we want Kevin back as soon as possible, but we felt confident with the guys we have out there.

ID: You guys have stepped up and haven’t really missed a beat. What do you atest that to, that you haven’t missed him at all?

RC: Coaching. Mindset. We believe in each other whether or not we have our ace out there. Last year we went through the same thing. Kevin Johnson went down toward later in the season, and we had guys step up. Same thing happened this year. And when Kevin gets back, I can’t wait to see what we can do out on the field.

Illini Drive can be reached at [email protected] and @IlliniDrive.