Illini Baseball sweeps again, secures best start since 1989

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois baseball team scored a season-high 14 runs to beat Southern Illinois, 14-5, and finish the sweep Sunday at Illinois Field. Illinois (13-3) is off to its best 16-game start since 1989.

The sweep is Illinois’ fourth in the first five weekends of 2019. The 13-3 record is tied for the 10th-best start in program history. 

Illinois had 18 hits Sunday, one away from a season high, including career highs in hits from Michael Massey (4), Ben Troike (4, tied), Andrew Dyke (3) and Grant Van Scoy (3). Troike added four RBIs and three runs and Dyke and Van Scoy also scored three times. Branden Comia and Kellen Sarver both had their first career three-RBI days with all of Sarver’s coming on a three-run home run to give Illinois the lead in the third inning.

After Sarver’s three-run homer in the third, Illinois scored four in the fourth, three in the fifth and four more in the sixth. All 14 of Illinois’ runs came during the four-inning stretch.

Illinois starting pitcher Cyrillo Watson’s solid start was overshadowed by the bats, as Watson went six innings and allowed only two earned runs on four hits. Watson left with a 10-run lead before Josh Harris (1.0 IP, 0 H), Caleb Larson (1.0 IP, 0 H) and Ryan Schmitt (1.0 IP, 1 R) finished the final three frames. 

Illinois’ pitching staff finished the series with a 2.00 ERA and .208 batting average against. The hitters slashed .352/.405/.495 in three games, including Grant Van Scoy’s .700 series average (7-10) and marks of .545 from Ben Troike (6-11) and .417 from Michael Massey (5-12). 

Illinois takes its six-game winning streak to Saint Louis University for a two-game series Tuesday-Wednesday. The Illini return home next weekend for a three-game series against Illinois State.


• Illinois is off to its best 16-game start since 1989.
• Illinois’ 13-3 start is tied for its 10th-best start in program history.
• Illinois swept a three-game series against Southern Illinois for the second time (2013) since they first started playing series in 2013.
• Illinois is 12-0 when allowing six or fewer runs.
• Illinois is 9-0 when leading after seven innings.
• Illinois tied its season long six-game winning streak.
Dan Hartleb is 24-14 against Southern Illinois, his alma mater, as a head coach. 
Ben Troike tied his career highs with four hits and three runs.
Michael Massey had a career-high four hits after having 16 career three-hit games.
Grant Van Scoy tied his career high with three hits for the second time in the series.
Andrew Dyke had a career-high three hits.
Branden Comia had a career-high three RBIs.
Kellen Sarver had a career-high three RBIs on his first career home run. 
• Hitting streaks: Troike 5, Michalak 5
• Reached base streaks: Yalowitz 8, Van Scoy 7, Troike 5, Michalak 5

Best 16-Game Starts in Illinois History

15-1 » 1959, 1915, 1903
14-2 » 1988, 1962, 1904
13-2-1 » 1986, 1922, 1912
13-3 » 2019, 1989, 1985, 1947, 1937, 1934, 1933, 1931, 1906


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