UI roundup | Illini land two wrestlers in finals

UI roundup | Illini land two wrestlers in finals

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Isaiah Martinez's appearance in the Big Ten Tournament finals was the closest thing to a foregone conclusion.

The same could not be said for Mike Carr.

Regardless, both will wrestle for titles today in East Lansing, Mich.

Martinez, a three-time Big Ten champion, won 8-5 over Rutgers' Richie Lewis in the 165-pound semifinal bout on Saturday to earn a spot in the finals.

"Let's get after it," Martinez said when asked about the finals matchup against Penn State's Vicenzo Joseph. "I'm so excited. I can't wait. This is showtime. This is what everyone wants."

Carr, the No. 3 seed at 141 pounds, won 10-6 over Penn State's Nick Lee in Saturday's semifinal match to earn his first trip to the finals in his debut Big Ten tournament. Carr will face top-seeded Joey McKenna (Ohio State) for the title.

Carr and Martinez and two other Illini — 184-pounder Emery Parker and 133-pounder Dylan Duncan — clinched automatic bids to NCAA Championships later this month.

In baseball

Illini rally, again. Don't look now but Illinois is on a hot streak.

The Illini collected their fourth straight victory on Saturday — a 4-3 triumph over Arizona — at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

For the second straight game, Illinois (5-3) had to stage a late-game rally, as this time around, Bren Spillane played the role of hero. Spillane's eight-pitch walk forced in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

"We played outstanding," Illini coach Dan Hartleb said. "It was a really well-played game. It's awesome winning and we're winning against good teams."

The Wildcats (5-5) briefly took a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, before Spillane doubled home Ben Troike in the seventh.

In softball

UI to play for title. Illinois continued its offensive renaissance this weekend, defeating Murray State by a score of 7-2 and blanking Southern Illinois, 5-0.

The result: The Illini (7-6) will play Northern Illinois in today's championship game of the Coach B Classic in Carbondale.

Inside the circle, Emily Oestreich (4-2) allowed just one earned run on four hits and two walks, while striking out 11 in 14.0 innings of work Saturday.

In men's gymnastics

UI places fourth. Brandon Ngai and Alex Diab collected individual titles, and Illinois finished fourth at the International Collegiate Challenge on Saturday in Stanford, Calif. Ngai posted a 14.500 on pommel horse while Diab netted a 14.350 on still rings. The Illini registered 404.250 points while host Stanford won with 410.700 points.