It was hot day on Saturday with the temp reaching into the 90s. Unfortunately, the Indiana State Sycamores offense got hot early and the Illini couldn’t recover. The Illini were hurt by a Sycamore rally of eight runs in the second inning.
Illinois still made it an interesting game, however. By the top of the fifth inning, Illinois had answered back with six runs thanks in part to homers by Bren Spillane and Tyler Engel.
After a four-run 9th inning, the regulation final score was 13-10 which was a whole lot closer than than how the contest started. Hard-hitting Indiana State added five more runs after three bonus innings (to give the players extra live practice, I assume).
Engel’s homer gives him two in as many games in this new fall season. He was a big part of Illini’s win over UI-Springfield in the first game of season. With last year’s secondbaseman Michael Massey returning in November and Ben Troike most likely slated at shortstop, Tyler is fighting for a position and his determination is showing.
Houston transfer Zac Taylor has been impressive in his first two games as an Illini. So far, he is 5 for 10 as the leadoff man. He’s been part of both games as he’s scored four runs and driven in four. In Saturday’s game against Indiana State, Zac’s a speedy guy, too. In the two games, he’s stolen five bases.
On the pitching side of things, it’s a little hard to evaluate things. On the one hand, we literally saw almost every pitcher the Illini have to offer in each game. Yes, because of the extended 12-inning game, Indiana State saw twelve Illini pitchers.
Here is the boxscore for Saturday courtesy of @IlliniBaseball:
#Illini fall to Indiana State 18-10.
— Illini Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) September 23, 2017
Sean Leland took the brunt of the punishment on Saturday but while he did give up eight runs, it was on just two hits.
It was great as an Illini fan to see all of our hurlers (unfortunately, starter Doug Hayes is still not ready). They all went one inning or less (with the only exception of Andy Fisher who pitched two scoreless frames and struck out three batters), It was Scout’s Day and a good day for Coach Hartleb to tout his pitchers as well as his hitters.
More photos from Saturday’s game at the Illinois Baseball Report photo gallery.
Illinois baseball scheduled another live game on Wednesday. At 6pm, Illinois will host the Millikin Big Blue at Illinois Field. It will be a homecoming for Big Blue’s Zack Owens who graduated from Champaign Centennial so we may see a fair amount of fans in the visitors’ section.
See you at the ballpark!