Illini Baseball Set for Midweek Contest at Indiana State

Illinois Athletics

March 12, 2024

Probable Starting Pitchers

Day                                   Illinois                                                       Indiana State

Tue. 3 p.m. CT                LHP Cooper Omans (2-0, 2.31)           TBA

PREVIEW

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illini head to Terre Haute, Ind., to face Indiana State at Bob Warn Field for midweek action. It's the first Tuesday road contest for Illinois this season and the first of two matchups between the two programs in the 2024 campaign.

LHP Cooper Omans will get the start for Illinois. The grad transfer has gone 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA (3 ER/11.2 IP) over three games, two starts, to go along with 11 strikeouts.

The contest can be streamed on ESPN+.

SERIES HISTORY

vs. Indiana State

Record: 38-40-2 (H: 25-18-1, A: 12-22-1, N: 1-0)
Last: L, 4-5 (13) (5/2/23 at Terre Haute, Ind.)
Both matchups last year went to extra innings...Illini went 0-2.
Last Illinois win at Indiana State: March 28, 2006.

NOTES

ON THE ROAD IN TERRE HAUTE

  • Illinois baseball wraps up this seven-game road trip as they head to Terre Haute, Ind., for a midweek showdown against Indiana State at Bob Warn Field.
  • Tomorrow's contest can be streamed on ESPN+.
  • Scott Beatty will call the action for the Illini on the Busey Bank Illini Sports Network (1400 AM/93.9FM). Streaming, audio, and stats links are also available at FightingIllini.com.

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

  • Indiana State enters the weekend 11-3, coming off of a three-game sweep of Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla.
  • C Luis Hernandez and OF Dominic Listi lead the Sycamores at the plate the duo each posting a .333 average, combining for two home runs and 17 RBI. RHP Jacob Pruitt leads on the mound, having gone 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA (2 ER/17.0 IP) to go along with 31 strikeouts over three starts.
  • Indiana State reached the NCAA Super Regionals last season before being knocked out by TCU. The Sycamores posted a record of 45-17 in 2023.

ALL-TIME SERIES INFO

  • The Illini are 38-40-2 all-time against the Sycamores, including 12-22 on the road in Terre Haute.
  • Illinois is looking to snap a brief two-game losing skid to Indiana State. The Orange and Blue have split the last 10 contests overall, going 5-5 dating back to March 29, 2016.

HIT MACHINE

  • Camden Janik continued his solid start to the season at the plate by going 5-for-13 (.385) with a run, two doubles and two RBI over the weekend at No. 8 Tennessee.
  • Janik has hit safely in 11 of 14 games this season, including seven multi-hit efforts. The junior leads the Illini with a .345 average and ranks second with a .958 OPS.

CROWDER 100

  • Jack Crowder struck out five batters on Friday at No. 8 Tennessee, giving him 100 for his career, in 110.2 innings.
  • Crowder has whiffed 22 in 19.0 innings this season, picking up at least four in each of his four starts.

SWARTZ SHINES

  • Jake Swartz turned in a solid outing on Sunday at No. 8 Tennessee, holding a potent Volunteer offense to two runs on two hits over 5.0 innings of work,  striking out two. It was the longest start of the season for
  • Swartz has allowed two earned runs in each of his last three outings and has worked at least 4.0 innings in each of those games.

B1G PLAYER OF THE WEEK

  • Redshirt junior infielder Drake Westcott has been named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, the conference announced on March 4.
  • Westcott went 7-for-13 (.538) with seven runs scored, a double, three home runs, seven RBI and seven walks over four games, posting a .667 on-base percentage while slugging 1.231.
  • The Edwardsville, Ill., started the week by going 3-for-4 with three runs, two home runs and four RBI vs. Eastern Illinois in the Illini's home opener on Tuesday. It was Westcott's first multi-HR game of the season and the fourth such game of his career.
  • At the First Pitch Invitational from March 1-3, Westcott went 3-for-9 (.333) with a double, home run, three RBI and six walks in three games.
  • Westcott has walked 13 times on the season, which is tied-for-sixth-most among Big Ten hitters and his 1.063 OPS ranks 12th among conference batters. He also ranks among Big Ten leaders in home runs (4, T-4th) and slugging (.622, 10th).

TABLE TOP

  • Logan Tabeling turned in the best start of his career on March 2 vs. Western Michigan, working a career-high 5.0 innings and allowing two runs while striking out seven.
  • After making no starts in the first 33 games of his collegiate career, Tableling has made three this season, with appearance out of the bullpen. In his three starts, the Tuscola, Ill., native, has racked up 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
  • Overall, the senior has amassed 20 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work, holding opposing hitters to a .222 average.

HOME SWEET HOME

  • The Fighting Illini won their home opener 12-2 over Eastern Illinois at Illinois Field on Feb. 27. Illinois is now 8-3 in its last 11 home openers and the 12 runs scored are the most since also scoring 12 in the 2021 home opener vs. Northwestern.

BACKSIDE DIESEL

  • INF Drake Westcott homered twice on Feb. 27 vs. Eastern Illinois, his first multi-homer game of the season.
  • Westcott had three such performances in 2023, including back-to-back multi-home run games against Michigan State on May 6 (3) and May 7 (2).
  • Two of the Edwardsville, Ill., native's big flies this season have gone to the opposite field. Westcott hit eight of his 18 dingers last season the opposite way.

FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

  • Illinois slugged four home runs on Feb. 27 vs. Eastern Illinois, a season-high mark. The Illini had eight such games last season, going 7-1 in those contests. Since 2018, Illinois is 12-2 when they hit at least four homers in a single game.

BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK

  • In the first inning of the game at No. 25 Coastal Carolina on Feb. 23, INF Coltin Quagliano, INF Drake Westcott and OF Ryan Moerman all homered in consecutive at-bats. They became the first set of Illini to slug back-to-back-to-back home runs since April 24, 1998.

FEELING THE CHEE-SIEST

OF Cameron Chee-Aloy had a big first weekend in the Orange and Blue, going 4-for-13 (.308) with six runs scored, three home runs, six RBI  and two walks from Feb. 16-18.

» Had a pair of go-ahead two-run homers during the doubleheader against Akron on Feb. 16...the first of his career in the opener proved to be the game winner.

While Chee-Aloy's eight-game hitting streak came to an end on March 2 vs. Western Michigan, the freshman reached safely four times in the ballgame (2 BB, 2 HBP) and has reached base safely in 11 of 12 games this season.

QUALITY AND QUANITY

  • Illinois got two quality starts during the opening weekend, with RHP Jack Crowder picking up the first of his season in game one of the doubleheader vs. Akron on Feb. 16 and LHP Regan Hall recording the first one of his career on Feb. 18 vs. Fordham.
  • Crowder did not factor into the decision but went on to strikeout nine over 6.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits in the Illini's season-opening victory.
  • Hall turned in a stellar collegiate debut, as the freshman earned the first win of his career by holding the Rams to just one run on the three hits in 6.0 innings, punching out nine along the way. Hall retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced.

OPENING DAY HISTORY

  • After defeat Akron to opening the campaign, Illinois is now 6-2 in their last eight season openers...the Illini snapped a brief two-game losing streak in curtain raisers in their 9-6 victory over Youngstown State in 2023.

DAN HARTLEB, THE WINNINGEST COACH AT ILLINOIS

  • Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb earned win No. 519 on April 2, 2023, against Michigan, passing Lee Eilbracht for the most in program history...currently has 537 career wins.

THEY HAVE THE POWER

Illinois batters slugged a total of 89 home runs last season, falling just two dingers shy of matching the program record of 91, set in 1998.

» The Illini return 72 percent (64/89) of their home run production to the team this year.

» Slugged a program-record 46 home runs during Big Ten play last season.

» INF Drake Westcott crushed a team-leading 18 home runs in 2023, becoming the first Illini to hit at least 18 in single season since Bren Spillane in 2018.

CLEAN FIELDING

  • The Illini led the Big Ten in fielding percentage during conference play (.986) last season for the second-straight year and for the fourth time in the last five seasons overall.
  • The Illini have had at least a .970 overall fielding percentage in 11 of the last 13 seasons.

NEW YEAR, NEW FACES

Illinois has 21 returners and 16 newcomers on the 2024 roster.

» Nine newcomers are transfers: OF Asher Bradd (Illinois-Springfield), LHP Evan Clark (Southern California), LHP Reed Gannon (Kentucky), RHP Will Lavin (Bemidji State), RHP Decker Mac Neil (Santa Barbara City College), LHP Cooper Omans (Nova Southeastern), LHP Sam Reed (Eastern Michigan), RHP Jake Rons (Long Beach State) and INF Vytas Valincius (John A. Logan CC).

ILLINI TRIO EARN BIG TEN PRESEASON HONORS

  • A trio of Illini baseball players were selected Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch, the conference announced on Feb. 14.
  • Right-handers Jack Crowder and Logan Tabeling, as well as outfielder Ryan Moerman, were all named to the list.
  • Crowder earns preseason honors for the second-straight year. The senior amassed 35 strikeouts in 42.1 innings of work last season over 17 games, six starts.
  • Tabeling is coming off his first season in the Orange and Blue, where he made 14 relief appearances, whiffing 13 batters over 16.0 innings.
  • Moerman is named to the list after earning All-Big Ten Second Team honors in 2023. The junior slashed .300/.372/.547 to go along with 12 home runs and 44 RBI. Moerman ranked among team leaders in batting average (2nd), RBI (T-2nd) and home runs (T-3rd).
  • ONES TO WATCH
  • D1Baseball Big Ten Top 2024 MLB Draft Prospects: No. 28 RHP Jack Crowder, No. 31 RHP Logan Tabeling, No. 34 C Camden Janik.
  • D1Baseball Big Ten Impact Freshman: No. 20 RHP Parker Burgess, No. 22 LHP Regan Hall, No. 24 OF Cameron Chee-Aloy.
  • Perfect Game Big Ten Top 2024 MLB Draft Prospects: No. 16 RHP Jack Crowder, No. 21 OF Ryan Moerman, No. 37 RHP Logan Tabeling, No. 41 INF Drake Westcott.

ILLINI BASEBALL INKS EIGHT TO 2024 CLASS

"I am extremely excited about our 2024 signing class," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We have four very athletic and competitive baseball student-athletes. This group has excelled against some of the best competition in the country."

"We have filled some big needs with very quality athletes who have a high ceiling. Our staff did a great job of identifying and securing commitments from this sought-after class. We are looking forward to working with the entire group."

  • Mitch Dye / RHP / Springfield, Ill.
  • Will Johannes / C // 1B / Mukwonago, Wis.
  • Greg LaChance / INF / Whitby, Ontario, Canada
  • Luke Landrus / C / St. Joseph, Ill.
  • Reece Marley / LHP / Clearwater Beach, Fla.
  • Brayden Mazzacano / OF / Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Grant Ross / INF // RHP / Pewaukee, Wis.
  • Luke Weber / RHP / Highland Park, Ill.

UP NEXT

Illinois returns to Illinois Field for a three-game series against Southern Indiana, the first weekend series of the season in Champaign. First pitch of Friday's opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.

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