The Spillane Train continues to roll while Illinois (16-5, 3-0 Big Ten) welcomes Iowa (14-8, 1-1 Big Ten) to Illinois Field for a three-game series this weekend.
In the last eight games, NCBWA Player of the Week Bren Spillane has hit 8 homeruns and driven in 18 runs. The junior from Wheeling, IL and the rest of the Illini will attempt to keep the Illini undefeated in Big Ten play after a sweep against Northwestern last weekend.
Illinois currently has a six game winning streak and have won 15 of their last 17 games after going 1-3 to start the season. They are ranked by all major polls including #25 by D1Baseball.com. The College Baseball Newspaper has the Illini ranked #12.
Get to the ballpark this weekend!!
Friday March 30
6:00 pm CT
Saturday March 31
3:00 pm CT
Sunday April 1
2:00 pm CT
W-L: 14-8 B1G 1-1
Iowa has completed one important task so far this season. They handed ranked conference rival Indiana their first conference loss of the year. At 14-8, Iowa doing ok so far in 2018 including two four-game win streaks. They have won six of their last eight games.
Pitching has helped. Not only have they kept the runs down but they have struck out their opponents at a pretty good pace. Hawkeye hurlers have 199 strikeouts in 194 innings.
In my twelve years of following Illinois baseball, I have never seen a player hit for power like Bren Spillane is doing in 2018. Looking at the NCAA stats website, he is not just leading the Big Ten in major stat categories but ranks high among nation leaders. He ranks second nationally in slugging percentage with an even 1.000 mark and fourth in with a .461 batting average. He is also now tied for 10th in the nation with 9. That does NOT include the two he hit in Illinois’ win over Concordia on Wednesday. Those homers are helping drive in runs. Spillane ranks 19th in rbis with 31 too.
Check out photos of Illinois’ win over Concordia at the Illinois Baseball Report photo gallery.
Spillane needs to stay hot as Illinois just entered the conference season. These are the games that count!
This just in… Illinois Field will be selling beer at this year’s Bleacher Bum BBQ event on May 4th. That’s a ground-breaking event. Those in town might remember the Champaign-Urbana Bandits, an independent baseball team which played at Illinois Field back in 1994. Conventional wisdom says that the team was not economically viable because alcohol was not allowed to be sold due to University restrictions.
The legal team may have found a way around this or perhaps alcohol use has become more accepted.