The Daily Illini

Illinois sends Indiana home with walk-off win

Ben+Troike+gets+a+shower+from+the+team%27s+water+cooler+after+hitting+a+walk-off+shot+in+Illinois%27+Friday+night+match-up+against+Indiana.+The+Illini+won+5-4.
Ben Troike gets a shower from the team's water cooler after hitting a walk-off shot in Illinois' Friday night match-up against Indiana. The Illini won 5-4.

Ben Troike gets a shower from the team's water cooler after hitting a walk-off shot in Illinois' Friday night match-up against Indiana. The Illini won 5-4.

Photo courtesy of Cary Frye

Photo courtesy of Cary Frye

Ben Troike gets a shower from the team's water cooler after hitting a walk-off shot in Illinois' Friday night match-up against Indiana. The Illini won 5-4.

By Eli Schuster, Sports Editor

The Illinois baseball team knocked Indiana out of the Big Ten Tournament late Friday night in walk-off fashion.

Facing elimination, Illinois grabbed the 5-4 victory and will move on to face the No. 2 Purdue at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Early on, Illinois’ offensive woes continued from the game prior, where the team dropped to the elimination bracket with a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

Quickly down 3-1 to the Hoosiers, Big Ten Player of the Year Bren Spillane gave the Illini the lead with a three-run blast into left-center.

The home run marked Spillane’s 23rd of the season and has him sitting with the second most in Illinois history behind Josh Klimek, who currently holds the record with 26 home runs.

The Illini only held onto the lead for another two-innings when Indiana’s centerfielder, Logan Kaletha, sent a home run over the right-field wall.

Starting pitcher Ty Weber was removed for reliever Ryan Thompson in the third inning after suffering an injury. It was a career-long day then for Thompson, who pitched 4 2/3 innings, only allowing one run on three hits.

Quinton Sefcik relieved Thompson in the eighth before head coach Dan Hartleb opted for Joey Gerber to get the final out of the inning and pitch through the top of the next inning.

With the game tied heading into the bottom of the ninth, right fielder Jack Yalowitz lined a single to second base, landing on first thanks to an off-throw that drew Hoosier first baseman Bradley Scotty off the bag.

A sacrifice bunt by Illini centerfielder Zac Taylor moved Yalowitz to second.

Ben Troike then stepped up to the plate and hit a high flying ball to deep left-centerfield. With the outfield playing in, Kaletha had to head back toward the warning track. The attempted falling catch rolled out of his glove and allowed Yalowitz to score from second to end the ball game.

The game was Illinois’ second matchup with Indiana in three days, first beating Indiana 7-1 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday night. The victory also gave the Illini a 3-2 season series win over its Big Ten rival.

The two victories were much needed for an Illini team that sits on the brink of the NCAA tournament.

Illinois must now face Purdue and pick up two straight victories on Saturday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals to advance to the championship game.

@Schuster_Elias

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About the Writer
Eli Schuster, Sports Editor

My name is Elias Schuster, and I am extremely happy to be in the sports editor role here at The Daily Illini. I am currently a senior here at the University studying journalism and have a strong passion for sports. For the past three years, I have worked at the DI producing digital content. I have covered both Illinois football and basketball for the last three seasons and previously held the sports video editor title. A little background on me, I am originally from a suburb outside Chicago called Vernon Hills, Illinois. Growing up outside a sports-centric city quickly made me fall in love with the sports world. It also made me quickly fall in love with deep dish pizza, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, if you have any questions or comments about anything at all, please feel free to contact me. Oh, and keep up to date with all the latest news via twitter @Schuster _Elias and @di_sports.

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