Tennis team continues home streak
URBANA — Tim Kopinski and Blake Bazarnik won in singles and doubles to lead No. 11 Illinois to a 6-1 victory against Michigan State on Friday in men’s tennis at Atkins Tennis Center.
The Illini (15-7) remained unbeaten at home at 8-0 and improved to 4-2 in the Big Ten after capturing their 12th doubles point of the season.
The third-ranked doubles tandem of Kopinski and Ross Guignon rebounded from a loss Wednesday at Kentucky to prevail 8-3.
“Tim and Ross again set the tone for the squad with their enthusiasm,” UI coach Brad Dancer said.
Johnson, hitters roll. Drasen Johnson got more than enough help from his Illini teammates this time.
The junior right-hander did his part, too, throwing seven shutout innings Friday as Illinois rolled to a 13-0 Big Ten victory against mistake-prone Northwestern at Evanston.
“Drasen threw very well and got stronger as the game went on,” UI associate head coach Eric Snider said. “We took advantage of their mistakes and got the hits when we needed them.”
Illinois played without head coach Dan Hartleb, who left for Ohio shortly before the start of the game after receiving a call that his hospitalized father had taken a turn for the worse.
In Johnson’s previous seven starts this season, the Illini scored a total of 15 runs, giving him the lowest run-support average on the team among starters at 2.1. Although Johnson (3-4) typically has pitched well enough to win — he entered with a 3.19 ERA — he had lost in his last four starts.
That streak ended — and streaking Illinois (15-11, 3-1 Big Ten) won for the seventh time in eight games — as the visitors racked up their second-highest run total of the season.
Leadoff hitter Will Krug went 3 for 6 to lead an 11-hit Illinois attack. Jason Goldstein, Reid Roper, Pat McInerney and Adam Walton each drove in two runs. Roper, a redshirt junior who entered 2014 with four career home runs, belted his fourth round-tripper of the season.
Illinois also took advantage of five Northwestern errors — scoring four unearned runs.
Meanwhile, Johnson clamped down on the Wildcats, limiting them to four hits while matching his career high for strikeouts with 10.
Redshirt sophomore Charlie Naso took it from there, pitching two hitless innings and striking out four to send Northwestern (4-20, 1-5 Big Ten) to its fifth straight defeat.
In men’s track & field:
Toepfer first in 5,000. Illini graduate student Jannis Toepfer won the 5,000 meters and teammate Jordan Hebert placed third Friday on the opening day of the Tiger Track Classic at Auburn, Ala.
Toepfer finished in 13 minutes, 59.17 seconds to win by more than 10 seconds. Hebert had a 14:12.29 clocking.
Two Illini placed second in field events. St. Thomas More graduate Ben Dodds was runner-up in the javelin at 198 feet, 8 inches. Branden Tanthavong reached 50-01/2 in the triple jump.