The Illinois baseball team opens its 2017 season in Beaumont, Texas, against Milwaukee and Lamar this weekend.
The Illini are scheduled to play each opponent twice during the Lamar Cardinal Classic with one game Friday, two Saturday and the finale Sunday.
Illinois will start three sophomores and one freshman on the mound during the four-game weekend hosted at Lamar. Sophomore right-hander Luke Shilling will get the ball on opening day in his first collegiate start, followed by redshirt-sophomore Quinten Sefcik, sophomore Cole Bellair and freshman Ty Weber.
Pat McInerney, who returns to the Illini after hitting .301 with a team-leading seven home runs in 2016. McInerney is the key to Illinois' offense that is returning 66% of its hits, 82% of its homers and 73% of its RBIs from a year ago.
This weekend is the first of 13 straight road games for Illinois, which is followed by 13 straight home games March 14-April 2.