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Illinois Baseball: Indiana Series Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini will play a three game series against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana starting on April 5th.

Illinois is 4-1 in their last five games with their last win coming at Busch Stadium against the Missouri Tigers.

The Hoosiers come into this series with an overall record of 23-3 and a Big Ten conference record of 6-0. They have won their last sixteen games. During this streak, they have swept Miami (OH), Penn State, Louisville, Iowa, and Xavier.

The best hitters for Indiana coming into the series are Kyle Schwarber and Scott Donley.

June 3, 2011; Fullerton, CA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini pitcher Kevin Johnson (22) pitches against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the first inning of the Fullerton regional of the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament at Goodwin Field. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Schwarber is clearly the best hitter on the squad and leads the team in batting average (.438), hits (46), home run (7), and slugging percentage (.714). Although, Donley has the most RBIs (36) on the team and is tied for the most doubles (8).

When looking at the stats for the Big Ten conference, the Indiana Hoosiers seem to be the best overall team.

The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in every single batting category except for stolen bases. That crown goes to the Fighting Illini.

The Illini currently lead the Big Ten with 54 stolen bases in 61 attempts (19th in the nation).

David Kerian leads the team with 12 stolen bases this season (tied for third in the Big Ten) while the Parr brothers, Justin (11) and Jordan (10), are second and third on the team.

Illinois has only been caught stealing nine times which is the third fewest in the conference.

Here are the pitching match-ups coming into the series:

Game One - Illinois: Kevin Johnson (RHP, Sr., 4-1, 1.89 ERA) / Indiana: Joey DeNato (LHP, Jr., 3-1, 3.41 ERA)

Game Two - Illinois: John Kravetz (RHP, So., 3-0, 3.82 ERA) / Indiana: Kyle Hart (LHP, So., 4-0, 2.27 ERA)

Game Three - Illinois: TBA / Indiana: Aaron Slegers (RHP, r-So., 5-0, 1.08 ERA)

This will be the 183rd meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Hoosiers. Illinois leads 110-71-1 (46-39-1 at Indiana). The Illini won last year’s series 2-1.

This weekend’s series between the Illini and Hoosiers will be an interesting one to watch this early in the year. Indiana is perfect in six conference games while the Illini are 1-2 after their series against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Don’t be surprised if the first two games of the series turn out to be pitching duels. Illinois and Indiana are sending their best pitchers to the mound for those first two games.

Kevin Johnson comes into Friday’s game after throwing a complete game shutout against the Oakland Grizzlies on March 28th. Yes, Oakland is not as good as the Indiana Hoosiers, but Johnson can get the job done if he gets into a groove early.

Illinois will need the pitching to match the intensity of their offensive to win this series.

Series Prediction: Illinois wins two out of three.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Topics: Baseball, David Kerian, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Jordan Parr, Justin Parr, Kyle Schwarber, Scott Donley

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