Illini take batting practice against Greenville…

…they’re going to need it for this coming weekend’s series against ranked Michigan.

It was an offensive display for the University of Illinois and a lack of fundamentals on defense for Greenville. Either way you look at it, Illinois crushed them 16-1.

There was no doubt from the beginning as the Illini scored 6 in the first batting around in the order. Add three more runs in the second inning and well, the game was pretty much over by then.

Joe Bonadonna legs it toward third base

Five Illini had 2 or more hits with Ryan Hastings going 4 for 5. DH Lars Davis went 2 for 3 with 3 runs and 3 rbis.

Coach Hartleb used the opportunity to have his pitchers see some action. Starter Aaron Martin came out after four innings and by the end of the game, six pitchers saw time on the mound against Greenville.

I took some photos. You can see them at The Baseball Zealot’s Photo Gallery

The win was great but the real story is the upcoming series against first place Michigan this weekend. It’s important because the season it winding down and the Big Ten tournament is approaching. As it stands now, the Illini are in sixth place, the last qualifying spot to enter the tourney. They are only one game ahead of Purdue. Even a split against powerhouse Michigan would, in my opinion, be a moral victory and would keep the Illini in place.

Lars Davis came over to chat about the upcoming Michigan series

Before the game, I called Lars Davis over and he was nice enough to come over to chat for a few minutes. He had a positive outlook for the upcoming series and was hoping to win a couple (maybe more) from them. I told him I thought he was having a fantastic year and mentioned that he was second in the batting race to Mike Mee. He acknowledged that he knew that but didn’t elaborate.

In hindsight, I probably should have phrased that differently. Lars, I meant that in a good way.

Later, Shawn Roof came by my usual post at the left field fence and said hi. I mentioned the Michigan series and he said he was ready to “take it to ’em!”

I like how these Illini players approach the game. You can ask them about a second rate non-conference school and they’ll talk very cautiously about them saying that you can never be too careful about some of these teams. Then they’ll bring up a game from the past where they played a team that they were “supposed” to beat but somehow they lost. So they can never be too careful. Case in point Robert Morris College who they beat by a slim 4-3 margin this year.

Then you bring up ranked, first place Michigan and they have all kinds of positive vibes and and feel they can take on the world.

I like that attitude.

Here’s a summary for this weekend’s series against Michigan from the Fighting Illini website

Go Illini!!

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