Local Sports

Illini Sweep Stetson Invitational

Illinois turned double plays in each of the last three innings Sunday to secure a 4-2 win against Villanova and sweep the Stetson Invitational at Melching Field. Andrew Mamlic gave the Fighting Illini its third solid start in as many days and Anthony Drago had three hits, including a homer, to lead Illinois to its sixth win in the last seven games.

Illinois (6-3) scored in each of the first two innings to give Mamlic (1-1) a 2-0 lead en route to his first win of the season. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six over 5.2 innings before giving way to the bullpen, which moved its scoreless streak to 8.1 innings.

 

Leadoff man Adam Walton, who hit .462 (6-13) on the weekend, started things off in the first with a double to right center before being driven in by a Jason Goldstein single two batters later. Drago's homer to right field, the first of his career, came in the second inning, as the Illini never trailed in three wins at the Stetson Invitational.

 

Drago added two more hits, while Pat McInerney, Goldstein and Walton picked up two hits apiece. All four players with multiple hits drove in one run.

 

McInerney's and Walton's RBIs came on sixth- and seventh-inning singles to pad the lead.

Cole Bellair, J.D. Nielsen and Nick Blackburn held down Villanova in the final innings. Blackburn (4) earned his fourth save in his last four appearances.

 

For the weekend, Illini pitchers owned a 2.33 ERA and struck out 26 batters in 27 innings, while allowing 20 hits.

 

The Illini beat Central Michigan 9-4 Friday and topped Stetson 4-1 Saturday.

 

The Illini travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, next weekend for two games against UNC Greensboro and two against host Coastal Carolina.

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