Illinois baseball has gotten a lot of attention this past week after their 3-0 performance at the DQ Classic. This weekend, they will play three games against two teams to bolster their 6-3 record and perhaps knock on the doors of a few more polls.
In Greenville, South Carolina, Illinois will take on the Michigan State Spartans (3-8) twice and the Furman Paladins (8-5) once. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Michael Massey will defend his title and Ben Troike who has hit in every game this year, will see if he can extend his 14-game career hitting streak.
Doubtless, the college baseball pundits will be watching to see if the Illinois baseball is for real.
If your team had the weekend that Illinois did, would you change the rotation? Neither would I.
Friday: Quinn Snarskis (0-0, 3.21)
Saturday: Andy Fisher (0-0, 4.50)
Saturday: Ty Weber (2-0, 3.57)
Regardless, Quinn Snarskis and Andy Fisher, who have been pitching well in 2018, wouldn’t mind a win to go with their stats. Ty Weber will be looking for his third this weekend.
Greenville, South Carolina
Friday March 9
1:00 pm CT
Saturday March 10
4:00 pm CT
Saturday March 10
12:00 pm CT
What will happen in Greenville?
Well, even if all goes as planned, it won’t be as ground-breaking as what happened last weekend in Minneapolis. Illinois won’t be facing any ranked teams. That said, this is a good opportunity for the Illini to bolster their claim to a legitimate ranking.
Michigan State and Illinois seem to be on the same tour. The 3-8 Spartans were also at the DQ Classic which the Illini handily won. The two teams did not face off so this weekend will be their first game together. If you’re wondering, MSU couldn’t hold off UCLA 4-1 but they were able to defeat Arizona in a squeaker 3-2.
Furman boasts an 8-5 record and have won five of their last six games. They did fall victim to North Carolina State losing all three games in the last February weekend series. Paladin Jake Crawford is particularly tough (.486 batting average).
Overall though, Furman still gives up more runs than it scores (82 to 76) and are prone to giving up the longball (15 opp. HR).
A good weekend to bring home some wins.
I know it’s early in the season but this flew under my radar. Ryan Thompson is currently tied for #1 in the nation in wins with three! Keep in mind he is tied with 55 other pitchers at the moment but it is a great start! Thompson earned two victories last weekend in the DQ Classic.
FightingIllini.com notes that the Illini are riding a six-game errorless streak. That is the second highest streak going back to 1979. Only the 2013 Illinois baseball team had a longer streak with seven.
Who was on that 2013 team? That team had players like Justin and Jordan Parr, Michael Hurwitz, David Kerian, Reid Roper, Thomas Lindauer, and Brandon Hohl.
The 2018 Illini are second in the nation in fielding percentage behind USC.