Former Illini Roark gets call from Nats

Former Illini Roark gets call from Nats


The Illini have a presence in the majors again.


Right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark, a standout for Dan Hartleb’s Illini from 2006-07, was called up by the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Mainly a starter at Class AAA Syracuse — he was 9-3 with a 3.15 ERA — Roark likely will be used in relief.


“The thing that stands out to me is the same thing that stood out when he pitched here: He competes,” Hartleb said. “That’s something you can’t teach.”


Roark, 26 and in the pros since 2008, is the first Illini to play in the majors since Kyle Hudson in 2011 (Orioles).


“Whether they make it or not, you’re always proud of them,” Hartleb said. “It’s a tough road to get to the big leagues. He’s put in his time and has continued to improve and has done a good job.”


Roark led the Illini in wins and innings pitched in 2007 but was ruled academically ineligible prior to the 2008 season and left school.

— Jim Rossow


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