Illinois splits Maryland doubleheader

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Illinois splits Maryland doubleheader

By Tatiania Perry, Staff writer

The Illinois baseball team continued in Big Ten play this weekend, traveling to College Park, Maryland.

The teams opted for a doubleheader on Friday and one game Sunday to avoid the cold weather on Saturday.

As expected, Bren Spillane kicked off the 10-6 win in the first game. After being named Perfect Game Midseason National Player of the Year, the junior hit an RBI double in the first inning to put the first points on the board. Spillane entered the week tied for the national lead in homers, with 14, and second in batting average with .494.

By the top of the second, Illinois was up 3-2, as Maryland found some holes and climbed back in.

However, it was the fifth inning that was the hottest for the Illini, as Zac Taylor stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam.

Following that, Doran Turchin hit a solo shot in the same inning to extend Illinois’ lead.

All 10 runs came on five extra-base hits: Taylor’s and Turchin’s homers, as well as doubles from Spillane and Michael Massey.

Andy Fisher had his longest outing of the season, going eight innings.

“I had much more of a relaxed approach than I’ve had my past few starts,” Fisher said. “And it’s kind of what I did all summer with the Northwoods League, so it was nice to get back to that.”

In his start, Fisher allowed just three runs on eight hits and struck out five, retiring 13 of the last 15 batters who faced him.

Roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, the teams took their places once again.

Although this time around, the Illini fell to the Terrapins 7-1.

“The biggest thing with Maryland is that they were going to be very aggressive right away,” Fisher said.

Maryland’s Justin Morris slammed a three-run homer off the light pole, widening the lead that the Terrapin had already created. The Illini were held scoreless for the first six innings, as Maryland took a six-run lead.

Grant Van Scoy finally put the Illini on the board in the top of the seventh with an RBI groundout. However, it wasn’t too late, as Maryland closed the game out with an extra run for the 7-1 finish. 

“It’s a long season and you lose some games in baseball; our guys are tough, resilient and they should be in good shape,” head coach Dan Hartleb said.

Illinois is back on Sunday for the final matchup of the weekend with Maryland.

“We’re not too worried about tonight’s loss; we know that we are going to come back and plan on winning,” Fisher said.

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