It seems that Illini Bren Spillane came out of nowhere this season. In fact, the three-time Big Ten Player of the Week and newly honored Perfect Game Midseason Player of the Year showed signs of his slugging prowess early on.
Spillane only came to bat nine times in his freshman year in 2016. No homeruns and not even any hits. However during the Illinois baseball intrasquad Orange and Blue World Series that fall, he made his mark in a big way. In the first game, he led the Orange Team to a 16-0 win.
He hit three homeruns and drove in six runs during the rout of the Blue Team. Of note, Michael Massey, Doran Turchin and Spillane hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns in the game. That’s something I hadn’t seen in any Illini game of any type.
I remember writing this up for the Illinois Baseball Report when it happened back in October 2016. Here are my photos from the game on the Illinois Baseball Report photo gallery. FightingIllini.com still has a summary from the game too.
While his sophomore year wasn’t anything like this year, he made strides. He hit .295 with five homeruns and was fourth on the team in rbis with 23.
In 2018, Spillane now leads the nation in slugging percentage (1.149), homeruns (tied with 14), and is second in batting average (.494). In addition to his B1G Player of the Week and Perfect Game honors, he has also been named the NCBWA Player of the Week.