#2 Illinois enters Big Ten Tournament as top seed

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Casey Fletcher rips a double before the rains came

The weather prevented #2 Illinois from finishing their regular season on Saturday.  Down by a run In the fourth inning of their last match against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, there was a downpour and after a delay of over 2 1/2 hours, the game was cancelled and all results nullified from the records.  The ensuing comeback was never going to happen.  The game will not be replayed.  . 

Never fear, the Huskers and the Illini will face each other soon.  Now that the Big Ten season is over, the Big Ten Baseball Tournament bracket is out and top seed Illinois will be taking on the Huskers at 5pm Wednesday at Target Field in Minneapolis.  You can find more information at the Big Ten Baseball Tournament Central.

Illinois (45-6-1) finishes the regular season with their 26-game winning streak intact and a 20-1 conference record easily good for first place.  Illinois’ win streak is now tied for the all-time longest in conference history with Nebraska (1983).

But first, it was a late game last night.  Let’s recap Friday’s game…

 

Game #52 / May 15, 2015    
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Ryan Nagle knocks out a 3-run HR in the fourth inning

Weather played a big role in Friday’s game as well.  After a 2 1/2 hour rain delay, the first pitch finally commenced at 8:41pm.  Like the weather, the game was a wild one. 

I suppose you could break the game up into three phases.  The first three innings, Illinois and Nebraska kept pace with each other with the Huskers taking a 4-3 lead.  Innings 4-6 belonged to the Illini who scored seven unanswered runs and putting the game out of reach (supposedly) at 10-4.  Then in innings 7-9, the Huskers came back with five runs of their own forcing the entrance of Illini reliever Tyler Jay once again. 

IMG_0559Offensively, the Illini got the job done with the long ball.  Four balls left the park courtesy of the Orange and Blue.  Ryan Nagle, David Kerian (left), Reid Roper and Will Krug all went yard.  

Drasen Johnson won his 9th game of the year giving up three earned runs in six innings.  Tyler Jay notched his 12th save of 2015. 

 

 

Random Ramblings

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Photos from last night win are here.  I also posted my photos from today’s rainout.  If you look at those photos you know that downpour must have come on fast.  It was such a nice day till it hit.

Gotta give Rutgers some credit from coming back from last Sunday’s 28-13 defeat to Illinois.  This weekend the Scarlet Knights who haven’t beaten a Big Ten team since April 4th, took two games from nationally-ranked Iowa.

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It’s a no-brainer but David Kerian should be on the Big Ten’s short list for Player of the Year.  As of today, he leads the conference in homeruns (13), batting average (.383), slugging average (.661), on-base percentage (.467), and coolest-looking headband. 

Next up

It will be Nebraska again for Illinois.  The players will travel to Minneapolis’ Target Field for the Big Ten Tournament next week.  The 8th seed Cornhuskers are first up according to the Tournament bracket

Good luck in the Tournament, Illini!!


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