No. 5 Illinois Set to Play No. 4 Minnesota at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday at Target Field
Justin Parr Picked as Player of the Year; Duchene Tabbed Freshman of the Year
2004 Junior: Appeared in 33 games and started 28 Finished the season on a six-game hitting streak Hit .351 (13-for-37 over his last 10 appearances) Homered in back-to-back games against Mississippi State and South Florida Also contributed on the mound, starting Big Ten games against Michigan, Indiana and Iowa and earning saves out of the bullpen against Winthrop and Blackburn Against Winthrop, threw three scoreless innings to ensure team's only win of its three-game series Long outings of the year came in starts against Indiana and Iowa (five innings each).
2003 Sophomore: Finished third on the team with a .326 batting average Started 41 of the 46 games he played, mostly at third base and DH Tied for second on the team in home runs with five along with finishing fourth on the team with 29 RBI Had one four-hit, two three-hit and seven two-hit games Carried Illinois past Ohio State by providing the game-winning single in game one and the game-winning home run in game two of the brief three-game series Gave Illinois the winning hit in game three of the Minnesota series In that same week, provided the winning home run in game one against IPFW and the game-winning single in game two against the Mastodons Hit .375 in the Minnesota and Northwestern series, as well as hitting .444 against Michigan State Played for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League over the summer.
2002 Freshman: True freshman saw action at both second base and designated hitter, starting 14 games at second and three at DH Had three multiple-hit games, two two-hit games and one three-hit game Longest hitting streak was five games Hit a team-leading .500 over four starts the opening weekend of Big Ten play at Indiana Hit a double to drive in a run in the series finale against Indiana Won a game for Illinois with a ninth inning double against Wright State on the Spring Trip Collected his first collegiate hit against Northeastern on the Spring Trip Scored twice and finished the game 2-for-4 Went 3-for-6 with one run scored and four runs driven in against Dartmouth on the Spring Trip Won CICL Player of the Week honors two consecutive weeks in June while playing for the Springfield Rifles.
Earned eight varsity letters at Pleasant Plains: four each in baseball and basketball Earned all-state honors in baseball his sophomore, junior and senior seasons Also first-team all-state in basketball as a junior and senior after receiving honorable mention all-state honors as a sophomore All-conference in baseball all four years and three years in basketball Earned MVP honors at both the state basketball and baseball tournaments his junior season as Pleasant Plains took home titles in each sport Dual MVP honors earned him mention in the Chicago Tribune's Top 25 Sports Events of the Year for 1999-2000 Member of USA Today's 2000 All-USA team and named one of the top 25 players in the state in 2000 by the Chicago Sun-Times As a senior was named the first-team all-state shortstop by the Chicago Tribune and was the Springfield State Journal-Register Male Athlete of the Year Participated in the IHSA Hitting Derby at the state tournament as both a sophomore and junior Finished third in Mr. Basketball voting in Illinois in 2001 Holds all-time scoring record in basketball at Pleasant Plains with 2,488 career points Won Lt. Governor's 2000 Youth Excellence Award and was nominated for both the 2000 Wendy's Heisman Award and McDonald's All-America basketball team.
Born March 6, 1983 Parents are Raymond and Diane Bensko Majoring in sports management Great uncle, Ronald Graham, played football at Illinois in 1922 Lists biggest thrill in sports as winning state in two different sports (baseball, basketball) his junior year, marking the first time that's been accomplished in IHSA history National Honor Society member earned numerous academic awards including the Lincoln Library Literary Award, Jacksonville Rotary Club Scholar-Athlete Award, Who's Who Among American High School Students mention and high honor roll honors Favorite athlete is Alex Rodriguez because he does his job everyday Lists his parents as the biggest influence on his athletic career because "they always pushed me to do my best."