Garrett Acton collected his 25th career save to break Illinois' all-time career record and help the Illini baseball team secure an 8-7 win at Elon to take the series, 2-1. Acton completed a six-out save after Elon made it a one-run game on a grand slam in the eighth inning.
Illinois (8-5) did not think it would have to use Acton in the series finale after building an 8-2 lead through seven innings. Branden Comia, Garrett McGowan, and Kellen Sarver all had two hits and Sarver had three RBIs, as the Illini were on cruise control to the late innings.
Elon (7-9), which had only three hits, got its big lift on Jack Roberts' no-doubt grand slam in the eighth inning. Illinois walked the bases loaded, then made an error, to put the Phoenix in position to close the gap. The homer forced Illinois to go to its All-American closer Acton, who finished the job.
Acton allowed only one base runner, on a walk, and struck out two to get his sixth save of the season in six attempts. Last season, Acton led the nation with 19 saves, setting Illinois and Big Ten single-season records.
Aidan Maldonado (1-2) earned the win by allowing two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He struggled with command early, walking five, but settled in to retire eight of the last nine batters he faced.
Illinois had its third straight winning weekend and seventh win in the last nine games. The Illini will look to make it four straight next weekend in a three-game series at Southern Illinois.