IOWA CITY, Iowa — Casey Fletcher continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with two RBI, to lead Illinois to a 4-1 victory against Iowa on Friday in the opener of their Big Ten baseball series.
Adam Walton had two hits and an RBI for the Illini (28-17, 14-5 Big Ten), who received an RBI from David Kerian.
“It was an opportunistic game for us, as we took advantage with two outs in crucial situations,” UI coach Dan Hartleb said. “I feel fortunate to come away with the win because I didn’t think we played very well. We made numerous errors and didn’t have great pitch selection, but the bottom line is we found a way to win.”
Winning pitcher Drasen Johnson (5-5) allowed one run on seven hits in 61/3 innings. He struck out seven. Reliever Tyler Jay, who fanned five in 22/3 innings, picked up his eighth save.
“Drasen settled down and got us deep into the game,” Hartleb said. “Tyler came in and was really good (Friday night). It was a very good team win.”
Illini eliminated. Top-seeded Michigan took a 2-0 lead in the second inning and went on to an 8-2 victory against ninth-seeded Illinois on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals in Evanston. Alex Booker and Ruby Rivera each had two hits for the Illini (24-26).
“We lost to a great team, one that has so many weapons,” Illini coach Terri Sullivan said. “We did some good things but not enough to win it.”
Losing pitcher Brandi Needham, a freshman, allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in six innings.
Though Booker is one of two seniors who will graduate, she believes the program’s future is bright.
“This team has the potential beyond anything that we have ever seen,” Booker said. “We have so many young players that really contribute in vital roles.”
The Illini turned one double play in their final game, raising their school-record total to 34. That total ranks second in Big Ten Conference history and 21st on the all-time NCAA charts. UI first baseman Remeny Perez was involved in the double play and moved into a tie with Jenna Hall (2006) atop the individual school-record leaderboard. They were each involved with 22 double plays in a season.
In women’s golf:
Miller shows way. Illinois’ Stephanie Miller was tied for 42nd after carding a second-round 76 at the NCAA regional in Stillwater, Okla.
Miller was at 151. Teammate Ember Schuldt was tied for 56th after her second-round 74. She was at 153.
“Ember definitely improved from (Thursday) and ended on a good note with the eagle on the 18th hole,” UI coach Renee Slone said. “There were still a few things she can improve on and a few pitch shots that didn’t go her way.”