MINNEAPOLIS — Close counts this season for Illinois’ baseball team.
The fifth-seeded Illini, who defeated sixth-seeded Michigan 3-2 in a losers’ bracket game at Target Field, won their 10th one-run game Thursday, but there were a few anxious moments.
Winning pitcher John Kravetz escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning by striking out the side, and relievers Drasen Johnson and Bryan Roberts thwarted late threats by the Wolverines.
“It was a gutsy performance by John,” UI coach Dan Hartleb said. “The momentum was in Michigan’s favor in that first inning, but he turned it right back around into our favor. Our guys really fed off that.”
Illinois (34-17) will play Minnesota at noon today. If the Illini win that game, they would face third-seeded Nebraska at 3:30 p.m.
“Our bullpen has been really good all year and kept it going today,” Hartleb said. “Drasen got the big punchout with the tying run on third base and then got the tap out. Bryan came in and finished it off to keep us playing another day.”
Michael Hurwitz, who went 2 for 4, put the Illini ahead 3-1 in the fifth inning with his first triple of the season.