Illini’s Aaron Johnson wins it in the 9th; Wikoff honored with Player of the Week Award

Dang, I’m out of town for a game and boy, it sure sounds like it was an exciting one.  Northwestern had the Illini down by a run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher and cleanup hitter Aaron Johnson jacks a two-run shot to win it all 10-9.  Wow!

It’s getting sufficiently close to the end of the regular season that I’m watching the Big Ten standings after every game.  At this point, Illinois is third and is ever so slightly pulling away from the middle pack.  They are 2 1/2 games up on fourth place Ohio State.

That said, it’s anyone’s ballgame when it comes to Big Ten Tournament qualification.  I think we can safely dismiss Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota (Indiana’s conference record is 9-15).  Michigan State, however, has made a late season push and at 10-13 could be a sleeper in the tournament race.

Speaking of Ohio State, Illinois makes the trip to Columbus this weekend.  As I mentioned, the Buckeyes are in fourth but don’t let that fool you.  They are always tough.

Wikoff takes Big Ten Player of the Week award

When Illini shortstop Brandon Wikoff (right) went 5 for 5 with 6 rbis on Saturday, I wondered to myself if he might be on his way to his own Big Ten Player of the Week award.  Sure enough, for the third week in a row, an Illini player was honored with the award.  For the weekend, Wikoff batted .588 with three multi-hit games.

This was the first time since 2003 that a Big Ten school has won the award three weeks in a row.  Joe Bonadonna won it two weeks ago and Casey McMurray was honored last week.

What do Bonadonna, McMurray, and Wikoff have in common besides being an integral part of the Illinois lineup???

They are all listed as being 5’8″

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