The Illinois Fighting Illini will play a one game series against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at home on Tuesday night.
Illinois was 4-1 in their last five games before their weekend series against the #16 Indiana Hoosiers, but lost two out of three in that series.
The Panthers come into this game with an overall record of 10-18 and an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) record of 3-8. However, they are currently riding a four-game winning streak where they have scored 15 or more runs in three of those four games.
The best hitters for Eastern Illinois coming into Tuesday are Brant Valach and Treysen Vavra.
Valach is batting .313 this season and leads the team with 36 hits and twelve doubles. Vavra has a .301 batting average and a .487 slugging percentage (leads the team). He also has 18 runs, 34 hits, ten doubles, three homers (leads team), and 11 walks.
As a team, the Panthers have eights players with double-digit runs and 157 total runs as a unit.
Offensively, Illinois is lead by senior Justin Parr.
He is the only player for Illinois that is hitting over .400 this season and leads the team with 52 hits, 22 runs, nine doubles, 30 RBIs, and a .592 slugging percentage.
The Illini are currently tied for first in the Big Ten with 63 stolen bases in 72 attempts.
David Kerian and Justin Parr lead the Fighting Illini with 13 stolen bases each this season. Jordan Parr is second on the team with ten stolen bases.
Here’s the pitching match-up for Tuesday:
Illinois: Kevin Duchene (LHP, Fr., 4-0, 3.62 ERA)
Eastern Illinois: Jake Johansmeier (RHP, Fr., 1-2, 3.93 ERA)
The Illinois offense proved that it can contend with any team in the series finale against Indiana, but also showed they can have their off days.
In games one and two against Indiana, Illinois ran into some good pitching and struggled. However, Eastern Illinois is not on the same level as the Hoosiers and “should” be less of a challenge.
Although, Tuesday’s game between the Illini and the Panthers should still be a good game to watch.
Prediction: Illinois wins Tuesday’s game.
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