The Daily Illini

Illinois baseball’s Hartleb confident in his young guys heading into opening weekend

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Illinois baseball’s Hartleb confident in his young guys heading into opening weekend

Illinois' head coach Dan Hartleb (24) looks on to the field before the baseball game v. Purdue at Illinois Field on Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015. Illinois won 10-5.

Illinois' head coach Dan Hartleb (24) looks on to the field before the baseball game v. Purdue at Illinois Field on Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015. Illinois won 10-5.

The Daily Illini Photo

Illinois' head coach Dan Hartleb (24) looks on to the field before the baseball game v. Purdue at Illinois Field on Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015. Illinois won 10-5.

The Daily Illini Photo

The Daily Illini Photo

Illinois' head coach Dan Hartleb (24) looks on to the field before the baseball game v. Purdue at Illinois Field on Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015. Illinois won 10-5.

By Thomas Polcyn, Assistant sports editor

The Illinois baseball team will open up its season this weekend as it travels to Beaumont, Texas, to play in four games against University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Lamar University — two against each.

After losing players such as Cody Sedlock, the Illini will be looking to rely on their younger players to step up and take bigger roles this season.

However, head coach Dan Hartleb does not necessarily see that as being an issue for his team. He said that after a lot of work and with the experience his team gained last year, he is more than confident in his group and thinks they can be a very successful team.

“It has been a very fun offseason,” Hartleb said. “These are uncharted waters
because we are so young. The few upperclassmen that we have have been great
leaders. Their attitude and culture have been tremendous.”

Sophomores Jack Yalowitz and David Craan are two of the younger guys that Hartleb will be looking at to step up early and often, especially with Yalowitz’ experience from last season.

Yalowitz started 41 games last year and played in a total of 47 as a freshman. The pitcher/outfielder brings a lot to the team in all phases of the game.

To further cement Hartleb’s confidence in his young guys, he said that one of his most important tasks for the team is to not 0ver-recruit new talent into the program.

“To watch them progress on the field and off the field has been a pleasant change from being predominately upperclassmen in the past couple years,” Hartleb said. “One of the staples of our programs is that we don’t over-recruit, so we are going to go through a few years where we are very strong, then we may rebuild for a year, then we are strong again. I’m excited as I’ve ever been about the young players in the program.”

The Illini will play one game on Friday, two on Saturday and then one final game on Sunday.

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@TPolc

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