Local Sports

Minnesota Downs Illinois in Series Finale Monday

Minnesota scored two runs in the seventh and two runs in the eighth to beat the Illinois baseball team 5-4 at Siebert Field. Illinois won the series 2-1 with a Sunday doubleheader sweep.

 

It was a controversial loss for Illinois (22-12, 3-6 Big Ten) as Minnesota's tying run was scored on a pitch that hit Eli Wilson's bat knob and rolled into fair territory before being ruled a hit by pitch. Illinois catcher Jeff Korte immediately picked up the ball steps away from home plate, touched the plate and was ready to double up the batter for what he thought would be an inning-ending double play. Instead the inning went on and Minnesota's next hitter added the winning run on a fielder's choice.

 

Minnesota scored both of its eighth inning runs without getting a hit, benefiting from three walks and the hit by pitch call. Illinois was up 4-1 through six innings but could not hold on. 

 

Minnesota (15-18, 7-5 Big Ten) salvaged a game in the series after Illinois clinched its fifth straight series win at Minnesota on Sunday. The Illini snapped a seven-game winning streak in Minneapolis with Monday's loss.

 

Michael Massey had three hits and Zac Taylor homered for a second straight game. Michael Michalak led off the ninth with a pinch-hit double but was stranded at third after a sac bunt and two ground outs. 

 

Cyrillo Watson started and gave Illinois five innings on the mound while allowing one run on five hits. Nathan Lavender (1-2) took the loss after walking three batters in the eighth.

 

Illinois is at Illinois Field for the rest of the week with matchups against Bradley (Tuesday) and Penn State (Friday-Sunday). 

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