Postseason roundup: Baseball, tennis
OMAHA, Neb. — Now the Illinois baseball team needs some help.
And a few wins. Or any hopes of an NCAA tournament bid are gone.
The third-seeded Illini dropped their opening game at the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday morning, losing 2-1 to sixth-seeded Michigan State.
Starter Drasen Johnson overcame a leadoff home run he allowed to Michigan State’s Cam Gibson to strike out 10 Spartans, but the Illinois offense stranded 12 baserunners. The defeat puts Illinois (31-20) on the brink of an elimination, with the Illini playing No. 7 Ohio State at 9 a.m. today in a win or go home game.
Illinois tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the third inning when Ryne Roper walked with the bases loaded to plate Matthew James, but that was the only offense the Illini could muster.
“Drasen has been good for us all year, but we haven’t given him any run support at all,” UI coach Dan Hartleb said. “He had a tough first two innings but battled his way through it. Drasen deserved to win again (Wednesday), but we didn’t get our jobs done.”
Illini stumble in singles. The Illinois men’s tennis team had three singles entries lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Wednesday in Athens, Ga.
Jared Hiltzik, seeded eighth, lost 5-7, 6-4, 3-6 to Ben McLachlan from California, Farris Gosea suffered a 7-6 (4), 7-5 defeat to Romain Bogaerts from Wake Forest and Tim Kopinski — an alternate who replaced Oklahoma’s Axel Alvarez Llamas — dropped his match to Virginia Tech’s Amerigo Cantini 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.