Illinois Takes Big Ten Title!

i.gif I never thought I’d say this but:

Thank you, Indiana!

Here’s the scenario:

Going into the last game of the season, Illinois still had a magic number of one. Either they had to win or Purdue had to lose in order for them to win the Big Ten title.

Well, I went to the game against Iowa and it just wasn’t happenin’ for the Illini. Iowa jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead. The Illini had their chances. Two innings in a row they loaded the bases (once with no outs) but couldn’t capitalize.

And it wasn’t like they weren’t hitting the ball hard either. Most of the time though, it was hit hard at a defender. In one frustrasting inning, each batter hit a hard rope only to be snared by a Iowa fielder for consecutive outs.

Final Score: Iowa 7 Illinois 1

But here comes the Good News part. Last place Indiana defeated Purdue 6-0. The score was announced over the PA after the game. That put Illinois at 20-12 and Purdue at 17-11.

It’s not how Illinois wanted to win it all but I like how shortstop Toby Gardenhire put it:

“This isn’t exactly the way we wanted to win it, but we won a lot of games early to put ourselves in this position.”

Story from fightingillini.com

Final Big Ten Standings

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Unfortunately, UI starter Aaron Saving didn’t have his stuff today.

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This Iowa runner is getting dangerously close to getting booted from the game. He was out on a fielder’s choice and the umpire ruled he interfered with the throw to first for the attempted DP. The ump ruled it a DP. This guy argued for a good minute or so and was not happy.

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This kid was awesome. In between innings, he managed on his own to lead a cheer and get at least 3 sections of fans to participate. In his high-pitched voice, he would yell, “I-L-L!” and the rest of us would respond with “I-N-I!”

Kid, I hope you’re back next year!

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Toby Gardenhire rounding third to score Illinois’ only run.

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The team celebrating their Big Ten title.

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Sunday games at home include a really neat promotion. After the game, kids get to go on the field and play wiffleball with the Illinois players. This is immensely popular with fans and has been nationally recognized in NCAA baseball as one the best promotions in college baseball.

Next up is the Big Ten Tournament at Illinois Field this weekend.

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