The Illinois baseball team jumped to a 6-0 lead on Washington and cruised to a 7-1 win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Illini's fifth straight victory. Illinois was the only team to go 3-0 at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge and clinched the nine-game, six-team event for the Big Ten Conference.
Zac Taylor scorched a double on the first pitch of the game to spark a four-run first inning. Washington made an error to plate the first run, then Michael Massey ripped an RBI single and Jeff Korte roped a two-RBI double down the right field line.
Two more scored in the fifth when Bren Spillane doubled off the wall in right for an RBI and Massey drove him in two pitches later with a single.
Illinois (6-3) starter Ty Weber (2-0) blanked Washington (6-4) for the first seven innings and pitched into the eighth. He allowed one run, scattered eight hits, struck out one and walked just one while throwing 59 strikes on 89 pitches.
Ryan Schmitt picked up the save by getting the last six outs in five batters. He entered with the tying run on deck in the eighth, as Washington had loaded the bases with no outs off of Weber and Jimmy Burnette, who walked one batter.
Washington starter Jordan Jones struck out a career-high nine, but Illinois tagged him for six runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Illini fanned 14 times in the game.
Illinois beat No. 11 UCLA Friday 5-3 to start the weekend, then beat Arizona 4-3 Saturday afternoon.
Spillane and Massey led Illinois with two hits apiece. Massey hit .500 (6-12) for the tournament with a .750 slugging percentage and .538 on-base percentage.
Illinois is back in action next Saturday in Greenville, S.C. The Illini play Furman and Michigan State in a doubleheader before meeting the Spartans again Sunday.