The Illinois Fighting Illini will play a three game series against the Penn State Nittany Lions in Champaign, Illinois for their final home series of the year.
Illinois comes into this weekend series looking to get back to playing baseball. The last series that the Illini played was last weekend against Michigan State.
The Penn State Nittany Lions come into this series with an overall record of 12-31 and a Big Ten Conference record of 3-15. The Nittany Lions are 1-6 in their last seven games and lost to the Akron Zips, 11-2, in their last game.
Offensively, Penn State is only batting .255 this season. Their top hitters are Luis Montesinos, J.C. Coban, and Steve Synder.
Each of these players bring a different aspect to the PSU offense.
Montesinos has the best average on the team at .291, Coban has the most home runs (2) and RBIs (22), and Synder has the most hits (46) and runs (21).
Here are the pitching match-ups coming into the series:
Game One - Illinois: Kevin Duchene (LHP, Fr., 6-1, 3.10 ERA) / Penn State: TBA
Game Two - Illinois: Ryan Castellanos (RHP, Fr., 2-1, 5.29 ERA) / Penn State: Greg Welsh (LHP, Jr., 2-5, 4.14 ERA)
Game Three - Illinois: John Kravetz (RHP, So., 4-1, 4.45 ERA) / Penn State: Steven Hill (RHP, Sr., 1-7, 3.72 ERA)
The player to watch for Illinois this weekend will be senior Justin Parr. This is because Parr is currently riding the nation’s best hitting streak at 31-games.
However, as a team, the Fighting Illini could use a sweep against the Nittany Lions.
Illinois currently sits at seventh in the Big Ten. If they can sweep PSU this weekend, they could move up into the sixth spot before their last series against Minnesota. That would be huge because the Golden Gophers are the best team in the conference and should give the Illini a run for their money to end the season.
Series Prediction: Illinois sweeps the series.
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