Illini win opener vs Indiana despite fielding miscues

It wasn’t pretty but the Illini beat Indiana in this weekend’s opener. Illinois had six errors in the game. Starter Tanner Roark continued his dominance during first games against Big Ten teams as he got the win in 7 2/3 innings. He gave up 5 runs but only 2 were earned.

After giving up a quick 3 runs in the first to the Hoosiers, Roark settled down and pitched quite effectively.

Shawn Roof celebrates with Kyle Hudson after he scores during Illinois’ 4 run rally in the 6th

Down 4-2, the Illini put together a four-run rally in the bottom of sixth which put them ahead for good. Jake Toohey came with 2 out in the 8th and pitched zeroes with 2 K’s for the save. The Illini win it 6-5!

DH Daniel Webb put up some good numbers going 3-4 with a run, a double and 2 rbis.

The game wasn’t without its dramatics especially for the Zealot family. My 10 year old son took a Kyle Hudson foul ball on the noggin. My 7 year old daughter was heads up and recovered the ball. Me ‘n Mrs. Zealot took the kiddo to the ambulance where they were nice enough to give him an ice pack.

Don’t worry, folks. I think he’s ok, now.

Double the fun tomorrow with a doubleheader against Indiana at 3pm at Illinois Field.

I took some photos (mostly before the game). You can see them at The Baseball Zealot’s Photo Gallery

Followup:

This quote just came out from Coach Hartleb regarding Tanner Roark’s performance and specifically the first inning when he gave up 3 runs (one earned):

“If you look at Tanner’s first inning, it was a good inning for him, we just didn’t play any defense at all,” Hartleb said. “The thing with Tanner is he didn’t let any of that stuff bother him. After we made the three errors in that inning, he just kept throwing strikes, staying down in the zone and he kept his composure.”

Well said. With the three runs Indiana scored in the first, it was easy to overlook Roark’s effort.

And I can’t forget this. With a steal of thirdbase in the sixth inning, Shawn Roof broke the single season record for stolen bases with 36. The swipe was key, too. He then scored on a sacrifice fly.

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