It was a cold, cold weekend for baseball. Despite the best efforts of Bren Spillane, #22 Illinois couldn’t pull off a series win against Iowa. The Illini eked out a nail biter on Saturday by the score of 13-12 but the Hawkeyes won the Friday and Sunday games.
Spillane did his part hitting three homeruns and driving home five runs. The Illini had their opportunities and had runners on base but just couldn’t score.
The 1-2 series against Iowa puts Illinois at 4-2 in the Big Ten and 17-7 overall. They are currently tied for third place in the conference.
Bren Spillane doubled and homered with three rbis but it was not enough to stave off the Hawkeyes. Michael Massey added a solo shot.
No doubt about it, the Illini wasted chances. Twice, Illinois left the bases loaded. Once, there were no outs.
Quinn Snarskis (3-1) tasted defeat for the first time in 2018. He had a pretty rough outing giving up six runs in two innings. Ryan Schmitt was helpful in very long relief. He put in 4 innings and gave up just one run.
Illinois got their revenge on Saturday. Fueled by a nine-run third inning in which the first eight batters hit safely, the Illini won. It wasn’t easy though. Iowa came back from a 10-0 deficit to come from within one run.
Bren Spillane singled in that third inning. He also homered.
For the game, he was 4 for 5 with two homers and four runs scored. Doran Turchin homered in the third inning as well. Michael Massey added a double and a triple.
Andy Fisher earned his second win of the year and Joey Gerber was able to finally shut down the Hawkeyes in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.
On a cold Sunday, Iowa found a solution to minimizing Bren Spillane’s impact. They walked him four times. Once, they walked him intentionally.
Michael Massey and Doran Turchin both drove in run with singles. Behind the pitching of Ty Weber, the Illini had a 2-0 lead but Iowa came back and tied it with a bases-loaded single. An inning later, Iowa scored two more to take the lead.
It was a tough Illini loss to take for Ty Weber who was taken out with a shutout going.
Bren Spillane for the weekend:
8 for 11 (.727), 5 HR, one 2B, 7 rbis, 6 BB
Think about that. Spillane only made three outs in four games. My biggest fear is that that opposing pitchers will take Iowa’s cue and begin walking Spillane either intentionally or just not giving him something good to hit.
Currently, he leads the nation in slugging with a 1.149 mark and is tied for the lead in homeruns with 14.
What stats is Spillane leading in the Big Ten? Well, pretty much everything. Right now he NOT leading in walks but I wonder if that might change. He had six over the past week.
This Wednesday, Illinois will travel to Normal for a 4:30pm game against Illinois State.
This coming weekend, traditionally tough Maryland is up for a three-game Big Ten series.