Illini Split Sunday DH with Gophers; Take Series 3-1

Today in Minneapolis, Illinois split their doubleheader with the Golden Gophers of Minnesota giving them a 3-1 weekend win after winning both games yesterday. 

Recap:

The first game was a squeaker with Minnesota winning 4-3.  Illinois took the lead 3-2 in the fifth with two runs.  Dom Altobelli’s double down the left field line was responsible for one of those runs but Minnesota coach wasn’t ready to see it that way.  He and most of the crowd were convinced it was foul.  I was listening to the game on radio and I could clearly hear the taunts of the ump.  Even later in the game when an Illini ball was hit foul near the baseline, I could hear the taunts, “Hey Ump, Are you sure it wasn’t fair?”  Well, Coach John Anderson was ejected for his vociferous objections to the ump’s fair call.

Anyway, In the bottom of the sixth, a Gopher sac fly tied the frame.  It stayed knotted up till the bottom of the 7th when Matt Nohelty scored on a Jeff DeSmidt base hit to win it for the Gophers. 

Another matter of interest… Kyle Hudson seemed to pull up a bit while running out a ground ball in the fifth inning.  An inning later he was pulled from the game in favor of Nick Stockwell.  He didn’t return for Game two.  I’m hoping it isn’t serious.

[4/20 Update:  Team Sports Information Director Ben Taylor tells me that Hudson is ok.  According to Ben, Kyle just “tweaked his ankle” on the play and it’s really “shouldn’t be a big thing”.  Good to hear.]

Speaking of Game 2, it was an offensive game with a score of 9-7 but most of the runs came late in the game.  By the top of the fifth, it was still Illinois 1 Minnesota 0.  Minnesota poured it on in the bottom of the eighth with five runs making it 6-4. 

Illinois responded with a five run inning of their own in the top of the final frame thanks to 3 errors by Minnesota. 

Kudos to Joe Bonadonna who responded well to taking over the leadoff spot for the game.  ‘Donna was 4 for 4 with a run, 2 rbis and 2 stolen bases.

What now?

The series win put Illinois at 9-7 in the Big Ten and back up a notch or two at third place in the standings behind Michigan and Purdue.  They’re one half game up on Ohio State. 

Tuesday, the good guys take on the Cardinals of Illinois State.  The game is at home at Illinois Field at 6:05pm.  We play host this coming weekend to Penn State for some good Big Ten action.  Another important series as State is one game behind us in the standings. 

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