Preview: Illinois

vs. Illinois

from uiuc.edu

7:05pm Friday, 3:05pm Saturday, 1;05pm Sunday
Ray Fisher Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI

Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio,TV: BTN
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (3-1) vs Haig (3-1)
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (4-2) vs Reeser (3-1)
Media Game 3: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 3: TBA vs Roberts (2-0)
Series: Michigan leads 123-91-3
Last Meeting: Michigan UM won last 5
Last Michigan Loss: Recap – 3-6, (May 2007 @ UM)

Penn State Baseball Blog:  Illinois Baseball Report


I’m going to skip much of the Illinois player preview, for information, check out the Q&A with Illinois Baseball Report from Thursday.  As for the team, the Illini comes into Ann Arbor with a 19-7 record, 4-2 in Big10 (1st place).  Those Big10 games came in a sweep of Michigan State and only taking 1 of 2 against Indiana.  The high point of the Illini season has to be the series at LSU.  LSU was ranked #1 going into the weekend, but the Illinois pitching staff managed to take 2 of 3 games, placing Illinois right on the edge of many top 25 lists.  Right now they site at #85 in pseudo RPI.

Overlooking their NCAA stat rankings (4/5/09), the Illini rank 73 in batting average (.313), 55 in ERA (4.43), 52 in hits allowed per 9 innings (9.27), 42 in fielding percentage (.970), and 20 in double plays turned per game (1.16).  Individually, Bonadonna ranks 51 in steals, Wickoff is the 10th hardest man to strike out (Josh par is 67th), Reeser, Strack, & Martin all are in the top 100 ERAs in D1.

And oh yeah, we’re on TV tonight.  Finally.

The Weather

Weather looks to be good this weekend with highs in the low 50s. Might be a little cold in the opener tonight with the late start.


Winds are negilible, so no worries there.


I’ll stick with the best of the weekend from my opinion:  There’s a tailgate for Maize Rage members starting at 6pm at tonight’s game.  Free food will be available for those students for the hour leading up to the first pitch.

Other than that, there are the usual give aways and contests.  The team will give a way a couple of free rounds of golf on Sunday to celebrate the Masters tournament ending, and there is also an Easter Egg hunt for kids in 8th grade or younger in the outfield postgame Sunday.

For the full list of promotions, go here.


I’m feeling rather pesimistic after the CMU game, but I think we can still take game 1.  Michigan has had success against Haig in the past, and I can’t even bet against a good Chris Fetter start.  I’m not so optimisitc about Saturday as we take on Ben Reeser.  Katzman has done well lately, but that just means he’s due for a less than stellar start as well.  If we get good Katzman and are motivated enough by game one – no matter the outcome – may be enough to steal this game.  Sunday’s anybody’s guess, but the way our back end has pitched lately, my pessimism wants to say we have less than 50% chance of winning it.  I’d say we’re most likely to win just one game in the series.  Two games would be a mixture of luck and motivation.  A sweep… I  might not come down from the high for a week but really really really unlikely.

I’m headed out of town… now… so I won’t have the We Have History up for Illinois.  I’ll also be without TV, internet, and cell phone this weekend as I visit my grandfather.  He’s in a retirement community that is a large ranch in the middle of nowhere Texas.  As Paul put it,

god i love texas. a retirement ranch?  did you guys actually put your grandfather out to stud?

Yes, yes we did.  I’ll be back Monday hopefully to good news.  And hopefully I’ll catch a replay of the game on BTN sometime late at night in the coming week.

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