The Illinois baseball team's seniors won their 145th game in the last four years Saturday, a 6-3 series-clinching victory over Michigan at Illinois Field. The Fighting Illini finished the season 28-23 overall and 12-12 in the Big Ten, but missed the Big Ten Tournament for just the third time in head coach Dan Hartleb's 11 years at the helm.
Maryland beat Michigan State to secure a berth and create a three-way tie for the No. 8 seed. Illinois, Iowa and Penn State all finished 12-12 in conference play, but Iowa had the tiebreaker by beating the other two teams in three-game series, leaving Illinois and Penn State out of the tournament.
The seniors ended their careers with a 145-74-1 overall record and a 64-30 mark in Big Ten play. Their careers included over 36 victories per year, a Big Ten championship, Illinois' first ever NCAA Regional title and the program's first Super Regional appearance. Nick Blackburn, Jason Goldstein, Michael Hurwitz, Charlie Naso, J.D. Nielsen and Andrew Mamlic were all honored in a pregame ceremony, along with assistant coach and former Major Leaguer Kyle Hudson, who came back to Champaign to finish his degree over the past two seasons.
Mamlic (5-7) started on the mound and turned in one of his best performances of his career. He tied his career high with 7.0 innings, while allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out five before fellow seniors Naso (0.2 IP) and Nielsen (1.1 IP) finished the win. Nielsen earned his sixth save of the season in his 79th career appearance, the third-most in Illinois history.
Pat McInerney led the Illini lineup with four hits, including two doubles, as Illinois produced back-to-back 10+ hit outings against Michigan. Dan Rowbottom, Anthony Drago and Doran Turchin each had two hits and Drago drove in three.