Coming off a 2-1 weekend against Maryland and a midweek win versus Illinois State, Illinois baseball (20-8, 6-3 Big Ten) invites the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (18-11, 4-2 Big Ten) to the Midwest for a three-game series. This is a key series for both teams as Illinois is right above Rutgers in the Big Ten standings. Both have a .667 win percentage; Illinois has the nod as they have played more games.
Historically, Illinois is 5-2 against Rutgers but both of those losses were last year. As of now, Illinois has won 19 of its last 24 games. The Illini snuck back into the polls this week. College Baseball Newspaper has ranked the Illini #18.
Friday: Andy Fisher (3-0, 3.68 ERA)
Saturday: Quinn Snarskis (3-1, 4.37 ERA)
Sunday: Ty Weber (3-1, 2.81 ERA)
Quinn Snarskis is back in the rotation this weekend. The combined record of the starters is a nifty 9-2. If need be, Ryan Thompson is in the pen. He leads all Illini pitchers with six victories. Amazingly, that is tied for eight in the nation.
Closer Joey Gerber has eight saves at this point in the season. He is sixth in the nation as well.
Friday April 13
6:00 pm CT
Saturday April 14
3:00 pm CT
Sunday April 15
1:00 pm CT
W-L: 18-11 B1G 4-2
So far this season, Rutgers has shown themselves to be a vastly improved team. With a non-conference six-game win streak earlier this season, they have an 18-11 record and more importantly, have a good start on the conference season with a 4-2 mark.
They haven’t done it with power. They only sport eight homers (only Nick Matera has more than one with four). Yet at the same time, they have outscored the Illini this season (just barely 188 runs to 187).
As an Illini fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring this 2015 Illinois-Rutgers game up. Illinois smashed the Scarlet Knights 28-13 including an eleven-run inning. If you look at my photos of the game, you’ll see current volunteer assistant coach Casey Fletcher doing his best to drive home a run.
This is a different Rutgers team from 2015. They are also a different team than our Illini this year. Both get the job done but in different ways. It will be interesting to see how they match up.
Illinois did a fine job defeating Illinois State 4-2 on Tuesday at Illinois Field. Zack Jones put in a solid performance out of the pen to keep the boys in it. That earned him his second win of the season.
Bren Spillane and Michael Massey both drove in run to put Illinois ahead for good.
I hate to even mention this but the weather might be iffy here this weekend, especially on Saturday. Needless to say, pay attention to @IllinoisBaseball or FightingIllini.com before coming to the park. I’d hate for someone to get to the park when the game has been re-scheduled. I know. It’s happened to me.
…and this just came out. Bren Spillane is on D1Baseball.com’s Top Prospects list!!
— Illini Baseball (@IlliniBaseball) April 12, 2018