Kevin Duchene and Ryan Castellanos both getting turns on the mound
Penn State will be coming to Illinois Field this weekend for Illinois’ last home stand of the 2013 season. The Illini (28-15, 9-9 Big Ten) hope to add a few wins against the last place Nittany Lions (12-31, 3-15) before traveling to Minnesota for the last series of the year.
It looks like Kevin Johnson will be out for the series. Fortunately for the Illini, the coaching staff focused on pitching recruitment in past years and it’s paid off. Two freshman, Kevin Duchene and Ryan Castellanos will be starting for the Illini on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The two of them have a combined 8-2 record for the year. Sophomore John Kravetz (4-1) will be on the mound for Senior Day on Sunday.
Fri. May 10
6:05 pm CT
Sat. May 11
1:05 pm CT
Before we all point and laugh at Penn State’s 12-31 record (not to mention their 3-15 Big Ten record), consider this: their stats really aren’t all THAT bad. While they’ve been out hit (.255 to .283) and outpitched (4.77 ERA to 3.18), they don’t indicate a team that has lost as many that Penn State has. I won’t sat who but there are other teams in the Big Ten with worst numbers.
Keep in mind also that the last game that the Nits played, they defeated first place Minnesota Golden Gophers AND they swept Illinois just last year. A little healthy respect is always in order no matter who your playing.
The Nits’ pitching staff is a bit suspect though with the exception of closer Cody Lewis who had pitched well. He’s got a 2.15 ERA in 17 appearances. Luis Montesinos (.291, 21 rbis) and J.C. Coban (.287, 22 rbis) are both hitting well out of the Penn State lineup.
One of the biggest concerns for this weekend is the weather. The Illini can’t win unless the games are played. It’s been rainy all day Thursday and we’re expecting more wet weather Friday morning. Hopefully, it will clear up by evening so that the games can be played.
Two promotions this Saturday: There’s Bark in the Park where you are encouraged to bring your dog. Also, if you have been wondering where the Illini baseball cards have been this year, there will be a limited set handed out on Saturday. Personally, I like the baseball cards and look forward to getting a pack.
If Mom is up for it on her special day, show up early for Sunday’s game. It will be Senior Day. If past years are any indication, there will be a short ceremony before the game where graduating players will receive recognition. Fortunately, we’re not losing too many but the ones who are graduating have been quite important to the team in the last four years.
Finally, my latest column is up at Smile Politely complete with a pensive Justin Parr photo.