The Illinois baseball team proved they can compete with some of the best teams in the nation this past weekend.
Illinois headed down to Frisco, Texas to compete in the Frisco Classic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The results of this tournament were pretty good for the Illini as pitching prevailed in two of the three matchups.
Texas A&M was the first team up for the Orange and Blue. The Illinois pitching staff threw a gem in this game. They only gave up three hits and two walks while striking out four Aggies batters. Illinois managed to get a run across in the eighth inning to win the game 1-0.
Next up was the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Illinois once again pitched a solid game only giving up two runs on nine hits. This time around, the Illini hitting helped out with four runs. We ended up winning the game over the top 25 Cowboys program, 4-2.
Illinois finished off the Frisco Classic with a matchup against now-ranked No. 5 UCLA. This game didn’t go the way of the Illini despite having a 1-0 lead at the end of the first inning. Illinois is still trying to find a solid third starter, but this wasn’t the answer they were looking for. The pitching staff gave up a total of 14 runs, 10 of the runs being earned. They also walked seven batters en route to a 14-1 drubbing by the Bruins.
Overall, though, I would say this was a fairly successful weekend for the Illini. We went up against and beat two borderline top 25 programs in Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Yes, UCLA got the best of us, but we didn’t have our ace in Ty Weber out there. I would like to see what he could do against those Bruins batters.
Illinois now sits a 5-4 this season with a game against Chicago State on Tuesday. We are sending out a 0-2 Jimmy Burnette to the mound, which makes me nervous. He has a 6.75 earned run average so far this season.
Thankfully, Chicago State isn’t a good program. They are 2-10 this season with the inability to put runs up and a pitching staff that surrenders runs like it is their job. Let’s get this win and continue the positive momentum of the program.