MINNEAPOLIS — Ian Skirkey can call himself a national champion.
The Illinois junior accomplished that feat during Saturday’s NCAA men’s gymnastics championships with a 14.166 on the pommel horse at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis. In the Illini’s final event of Saturday’s finals, Skirkey grabbed a piece of history by beating out Michigan’s Paul Juda (13.800) for the pommel horse national title.
As a team, Illinois finished sixth with a total score of 397.991. Stanford won the men’s national championship (414.521) followed by Oklahoma (411.591), Michigan (410.35), Nebraska (406.624) and Minnesota (406.291).
Hampe keys Illini. Ryan Hampe had another big game at the plate on Saturday. Illinois needed as much to finish off Michigan State during a high-scoring game at Illinois Field in Champaign.
Hampe delivered four hits in his five at-bats, knocking in three of the Illini’s 15 runs in a 15-8 victory against the Spartans.
Kellen Sarver also smacked a solo home run — his first of the season — in the eight inning to punctuate a three-hit, two-RBI game for the Centennial graduate, one of four Illinois players to post a multi-hit game.
That offensive showcase allowed the Illini (10-12) to overcome another shaky afternoon from their pitchers against the Spartans (11-13).
Nathan Lavender picked up the win for Illinois after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander did strike out seven while permitting two walks.
Illini take two. Stout starting pitching from Addy Jarvis and Tori McQueen and more timely hitting from Delaney Rummell allowed Illinois to sweep its home doubleheader on Saturday against Purdue.
Jarvis limited the Boilermakers to one run in 6 1/3 innings en route to a 4-1 Illini victory in the first game at Eichelberger Field, and McQueen followed that up with a complete-game shutout as Illinois finished off the sweep with a 5-0 victory.
Rummell smashed a three-run home run in the opening game and produced four hits and five RBI in the two wins by the Illini (18-9) against Purdue (7-20).
In track and field
Wells wins again. Jonathan Wells won his second event of the weekend on Saturday.
After Friday’s win in the men’s long jump at the Husker Big Ten Invitational in Prairie View, Texas, Wells claimed Saturday’s men’s high-jump title with a mark of 7 1/4 feet.
Also at the Husker Invite on Saturday, Cooper Jazo tied for first in the men’s pole vault with a top vault of 17 1/4 feet.