The Illinois Fighting Illini were able to stay alive on Thursday by defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 3-2, in the loser’s bracket of the Big Ten Tournament.
Illinois’s offense performed a lot better in game two of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Illinois offense got going early scoring runs in the first and second inning via a Jordan Parr ground out RBI and a Thomas Lindauer sac fly to left field.
They would add another run in the fifth via a Michael Hurwitz triple.
However, it wasn’t the offense that won the game for the Fighting Illini on Thursday. It was their pitching.
Sophomore John Kravetz took the mound as the starter for the Illini against the Wolverines. He would set the pace for the game in the first inning by getting out of a bases-loaded jam with three straight strikeouts.
Kravetz would then go on to pitch 7.1 innings where he gave up two runs on eight hits and struck out seven Michigan batters.
After the game, Kravetz said:
I didn’t get off to the start I wanted with those first three hitters, but was able to get out of that jam. I coasted from there for the most part, and the bullpen really picked me up.
Some of the best hitters for the Illini on Thursday were Michael Hurwitz and Thomas Lindauer. Hurwitz went 2-of-4 with one RBI while Lindauer went 2-of-3 with one RBI and scored two runs.
With the win over Michigan on Thursday, Illinois didn’t just survive in the conference tournament, but also matched its most wins in a season since 2009. The 34 wins equaled the most in the eight-year Hartleb era.
After the game, head coach Dan Hartleb had this to say about the bullpen:
Our bullpen has been really good all year and kept it going today. Drasen got the big punch out with the tying run on third base and then got the tap out. Bryan came in and finished it off to keep us playing another day.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will play their next game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at 12:05 CT on Friday. This will be a re-match of Wednesday’s first game loss. The loser of this game will be bounced from the conference tournament and the winner will face off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 3:35 CT on Friday.
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