Six shutout innings gets Rob McDonnell his first win
There’s always something special about the Illinois baseball home opener no matter what the weather. While it was a little rainy at the start of the game against Chicago State, it was a balmy 47 degrees. Not only that, by the time the game ended, the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds.
The Illinois baseball players made it that much more special by giving the fans a win. Behind the pitching of starter Rob McDonnell who gets his first win of the season and bats of Reid Roper and Pat McInerney, Illinois (12-3-1) defeated the Chicago State Cougars (2-12) by the score of 7-3.
Starting pitcher Rob McDonnell was on his game again. The former Big Ten Pitcher of the Week didn’t give up a hit for the first three innings. The Cougars finally got two safeties off of Big Bob in the fourth but overall he spread out five hits in six shutout innings. The key to his success was his control. He didn’t allow any walks in his start.
Pat McInerney drives in two runs with a double in the second
Reid Roper and Pat McInerney who have both had good seasons so far this season, contributed to today’s game. Roper (3 for 4, 2 runs, 2 rbis) got the Illini off to a good start by driving home Casey Fletcher in the first inning. The next inning, McInerney (2 for 3, 2 doubles, 3 rbis) drove home two runs with a double to left.
The 7th inning probably wasn’t the best for the Illini. Going in with a shutout, the Cougars managed to score. However, it could have been a lot worse and the Illini have Casey Fletcher and Jason Goldstein to thank for that. Two Chicago State baserunners were cut down at the plate that inning. Mark that 9-2 if you’re scoring at home, folks.
Overall, a good solid win for the Illini. Chicago State did manage to get 12 hits in the game… the Illini hurlers managed to spread them out.
More of my photos from today’s game here in the Illinois Baseball Report Gallery.
With his two rbis, Reid Roper reaches 15 for the season. He’s now batting .393. He leads the team in both categories. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that those players who have good summer season will follow it up with a similarly good season for the Illini. I know it’s early but so far, that seems to be the case for Roper, Kevin Duchene and Tyler Jay.
It was great to see former Illini shortstop Josh Parr (above) in the crowd. He and I chatted for a bit. Josh is finishing up his degree at the University of Illinois in Communications and Religious Studies.
Illinois will host the always tough Southern Illinois Salukis for a three-game series this weekend. Game time on Friday is 4pm.