Kevin Duchene will take the mound vs Minnesota on Thursday
This weekend, Illinois heads north to Minneapolis to finish out the regular season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. While both teams both have 12 conference wins, the Gophers (12-6, 29-18 overall) have three less losses than Illinois (12-9, 31-15 overall) and are in a three-way tie for second place. Currently, Illinois is in a tie for fifth place with Michigan and hope to stay among the top six teams in order to advance to the Big Ten Tournament.
After his stunning performance last weekend against Penn State, Kevin Duchene gets the nod for Thursday’s start. He’ll be going against tough Tom Windle who has a nasty 1.76 ERA. Ryan Castellanos will be on the mound Saturday and sophomore John Kravetz will finish out the regular season on Sunday.
Thu. May 16
3:05 pm CT
Fri. May 17
2:05 pm CT
Minnesota is probably on their toughest stretch all year. They’ve lost three of their last four games. Ironically, that started with their loss to Penn State two weekends ago. Minnesota is a good team though and a lot of that comes from their pitching. I’ve already mentioned starter Tom Windle who is one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten.
The Gophers are ninth in the conference in hitting as well as homeruns so they have their Achilles heel. As long as our guys can get to their pitching and do it early, we should be ok.
It’s worth a reminder that the series is played a day early and all the games are played in the afternoon. Thursday’s game starts at 3:05pm CT. The Big Ten Network will be broadcasting Thursday’s and Friday’s game live.
The Big Ten’s rules concerning season-ending ties aren’t always crystal clear. Illinois found that out the hard way last year. The good news? B1G Baseball.com’s Chris Webb did the homework and determined that should Michigan and Illinois tie at the end of the regular season, Illinois would win the tie-breaker. That’s one less thing for Illini fans to worry about.
Some bittersweet news for Justin Parr… his 33-game hit streak is now the second highest in the country for 2013. St. Mary’s Brendan Kalfus now has a 34 game hit streak which surpasses Parr. Oh, so fleeting! Fighting Illini Baseball also notes that Thomas Lindauer has the current highest streak on the team with 9 games.