MINNEAPOLIS — The wait was worth it for Illinois’ baseball team Friday.
The Illini’s game against Minnesota was delayed two hours by rain, but Illinois defeated Minnesota 4-3 and clinched a berth in next week’s Big Ten tournament.
“It was a very tough and hard-fought game,” UI coach Dan Hartleb said. “The thing that stood out the most to me was that when Minnesota made mistakes, we were able to capitalize and push runs across early. Our bullpen was very good today.”
The Illini, who have won five consecutive games, moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten at 14-9 after Michigan and Michigan State lost Friday.
Illinois’ bullpen allowed two hits over the final 41/3 innings. Reliever Drasen Johnson earned the win, and closer Bryan Roberts picked up his sixth save.
In men’s golf:
Illini in second. Illinois shot 4 over par to lose its grip on first place at the NCAA regional in Fayetteville, Ark. But the Illini remained on track to advance to the NCAA Championships, 21 strokes separating Mike Small’s team and sixth-place Tulsa and SMU ahead of today’s final round.
The top five teams move on.
“The course dried up and it got a lot faster,” Small said. “The pins were tougher, and this course is very, very difficult. There were a lot of levels of adversity thrown at us today, from things we created to the course to some outside factors that really tested us. As a team, we persevered and really fought through those things.”
While Illinois fell a stroke behind Arkansas, sophomore Brian Campbell made up serious ground in the individual race. His 5-under round of 67 vaulted him 40 spots to a ninth-place tie.
Thomas Detry (74) was tied for fourth, Charlie Danielson (78) was tied for sixth and defending NCAA champ Thomas Pieters (73) was tied for 12th.