Friday’s game against Illinois didn’t follow the same script as Wednesday’s game for IU, but it yielded the same result.
After a big comeback win Thursday night against Michigan State, the Hoosiers engaged in a back and forth battle with Illinois on Friday, losing the rematch 5-4 to bow out of the Big Ten Tournament.
IU got the bats going quickly, getting a handful of baserunners in the early innings. Sophomore infielder Scotty Bradley led off the second inning with a double. Freshman infielder Cole Barr followed with a single and a stolen base, setting the stage for junior catcher Wyatt Cross to drive in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly. The Hoosiers scored another run in the second on a double to left field from junior outfielder Logan Kaletha to make the score 2-0.
The Illini got a run back in the bottom of the second when junior outfielder Doran Turchin crossed the plate on a groundout from junior catcher Jeff Korte. In the top of the third, the Hoosiers would answer as senior outfielder Logan Sowers hit a solo home run to left center field.
That score would hold until the bottom of the fifth, when Big Ten Player of the Year, Illinois junior Bren Spillane hit a three-run home run off junior pitcher Tim Herrin to give the Illini a lead.
Herrin had been in a groove until that point. The Terre Haute, Indiana, native finished the day with four runs allowed on four hits, as well as four strikeouts, in 4.1 innings pitched.
Illinois kept its lead until the top of the seventh. There, Kaletha tied the game with a two-out home run to right field.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the late innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Illinois sophomore shortstop Ben Troike hit a fly ball just beyond the reach of Kaletha to drive in the game-winning run.
This loss ends IU’s Big Ten Tournament run. The Hoosiers will wait for the announcement from the NCAA Tournament selection committee to see what Regional they will play in next weekend.
The announcement is set for Monday.