Baseball at the Beach Tournament Up Next for Illini

Junior Will Krug and the Illini will play three games this weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach Tournament.
Junior Will Krug and the Illini will play three games this weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach Tournament.

Feb. 19, 2014

 Illinois at Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach Tournament
 Preview Interviews Coach Hartleb | Kevin Duchene | Reid Roper
 Game Notes Illinois | George Mason | Coastal Carolina | Connecticut
 Social Media @IlliniBaseball   |  Facebook

 Game 1: Illinois (1-2) vs. George Mason (3-1)
 Date Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
 Time Changed to 5 p.m. CT
 Location Field at Pelicans Ballpark | Myrtle Beach, S.C.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Pitching Matchup ILL: Kevin Duchene (LHP, So., 0-0, 2.84 ERA)
GMU: Anthony Montefusco (RHP, r-Sr., 1-0, 0.00 ERA)
 Series History First meeting

 Game 2: Illinois (1-2) at Coastal Carolina (1-2)
 Date Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014
 Time Changed to 1:30 p.m. CT
 Location Field at Pelicans Ballpark | Myrtle Beach, S.C.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Pitching Matchup ILL: Drasen Johnson (RHP, r-Jr., 0-0, 7.11 ERA)
CCU: Ben Smith (LHP, Jr., 0-1, 1.93 ERA)
 Series History Coastal Carolina leads 2-1
 Last Meeting Coastal Carolina won 5-4 (3/4/2012)
 Streak Lost 2

 Game 3: Illinois (1-2) vs. Connecticut (0-3)
 Date Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014
 Time Changed to 9 a.m. CT
 Location Field at Pelicans Ballpark | Myrtle Beach, S.C.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Pitching Matchup ILL: John Kravetz (RHP, Jr., 0-0, 67.50 ERA)
CONN: Brian Ward (LHP, Sr., 0-1, 4.91 ERA)
 Series History Illinois leads 1-0
 Last Meeting Illinois won 5-1 (3/10/2012)
 Streak Won 1

Illinois... now playing George Mason on Friday night playing tournament host Coastal Carolina on Saturday
...will now play Connecticut on Sunday
...will play at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' stadium averaging 9.7 runs per game
...has four players hitting over .350
...has hit a home run in each game this season

Tournament Schedule Changes
Due to inclement weather in the area and travel considerations, several changes were made to this weekend's Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach Tournament. Illinois' Friday contest against George Mason has been pushed back to 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT).

UI's game on Saturday against Coastal Carolina will be pushed back one hour and be played at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. CT). The Illini will no longer play Wichita State on Sunday. Instead, the Orange and Blue will face Connecticut at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT). All games will be played at Field at Pelicans Ballpark, the minor league home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Updated Baseball at the Beach Tournament Schedule
Friday, Feb. 21 (NEW TIME)
Illinois vs. George Mason - 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT)

Saturday, Feb. 22 (NEW TIME)
Illinois at Coastal Carolina - 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. CT)

Sunday, Feb. 23 (NEW TIME & OPPONENT)
Illinois vs. Connecticut - 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT)

Pitching Rotation: Illinois will slightly alter its pitching rotation this weekend. Sophomore Kevin Duchene will remain the Friday starter, while the Saturday and Sunday starters will switch from the Georgia State series. Redshirt-junior Drasen Johnson will toe the rubber on Saturday against Coastal Carolina, while junior John Kravetz will pitch on Sunday against Connecticut.

Illini Against the Tournament Field
For the first time in school history, George Mason will be in the opposing dugout to face the Illini. GMU enters Friday's contest following an offensive outburst in its opening weekend, compiling 43 runs en route to two wins against Morehead State and one against USC Upstate. Chris Cook, who batted .615 with nine runs, two home runs and five RBI, anchors the Patriots' offense as their designated hitter. Senior Anthony Montefusco (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is expected to take the ball for George Mason against the Illini on Friday.

Coastal Carolina and Illinois will meet for the fourth time on Saturday with CCU leading the all-time series 2-1. The Chanticleers beat the Illini 5-4 on March 4, 2012, a game in which Saturday's probable starter junior Ben Smith (0-1, 1.93 ERA) started and recorded five strikeouts while allowing only one run over 4.1 innings. Coastal Carolina dropped its first series of the season to Pittsburgh, but salvaged the final game of the weekend. Designated hitter G.K. Young, who batted .500 with four RBI, leads the Chanticleers' offense.

Illinois will square off against Connecticut for the second time in school history. The Illini won the only previous match-up between the two teams with a 5-1 victory on March 10, 2012.

Last Time Out
Illinois (1-2) dropped two out of three in the season-opening series against Georgia State despite leading after seven innings in all three games. UI fell in the season opener 5-4 in 10 innings, bounced back with a 19-13 victory in game two, and stumbled in the series finale, 10-6. The Illini scored 29 runs during the opening weekend, but the pitching staff allowed 28 runs with a 9.11 ERA. Junior Will Krug hit .438 (7-for-16) and scored five runs, while sophomore Ryan Nagle recorded a .417 average (5-for-12) with five RBI. Redshirt-junior Reid Roper homered twice and posted a team-high seven RBI, while freshman Pat McInerney hit .385 with a home run in his collegiate debut weekend. Freshman pitcher Cody Sedlock earned his first collegiate victory in his first appearance, tossing 4.1 innings of relief in game two of the series.

Offensive Explosion
UI racked up 19 runs and 20 hits in its first win of the season at Georgia State. The Illini overcame a 5-0 hole in the first inning with an impressive offensive output. The last time Illinois had 20 hits in a game was last season against Purdue on April 14. It was the most runs Illinois scored in a game since putting up 21 against Oakland on March 30, 2013. The 29 total runs in the series marked the most runs scored in a season's first three games since 2009 (32 runs).

Krug Sets the Table
Junior Will Krug has sparked the Illini offense in the leadoff spot. The Park Ridge, Ill., native doubled in Illinois' first at-bat of the season and continued his hot start with a team-best .438 average in the opening weekend. He has scored a team-high five runs and has the Illini's only triple and all four stolen bases. Krug has picked up where he left off last year, where he hit .305 before missing the second half of the season due to an arm injury.

Roper Repeats History
Redshirt-junior Reid Roper belted the first Illini home run of the season with a two-out, two-run bomb in the sixth inning of the season opener at Georgia State. The Harrisburg, Ill., native hit his second career Opening Day home run, as he also homered in his first career game as an Illini against Notre Dame on Feb. 17, 2012. The UI third baseman already has two home runs after three games in 2014, giving him six career dingers, the most of any Illini on the roster. Roper belted one homer in 2012 and a career-high three in 2013.

Johnson Strikes Out 10
Redshirt-junior Drasen Johnson recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts in his Illini debut in the weekend rotation at Georgia State. The Chillicothe, Ill., native more than doubled his previous high of four strikeouts, which he totaled against Illinois State on April 17, 2012. Against GSU, Johnson left the game with the lead after allowing five runs and 13 hits over 6.1 innings but received a no decision. The last Illini pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts was Kevin Duchene with 11 punch outs against Penn State on May 10, 2013.

Freshman McInerney Goes Deep
Freshman outfielder/designated hitter Pat McInerney became the first Illini true freshman to hit a home run since Brandon Hohl in 2010. McInerney went deep in the final game of the series at Georgia State, crushing a solo shot over the left-field wall at the GSU Baseball Complex.

Collegiate Firsts for Sedlock, Jay
In Illinois' first victory of the season at Georgia State, a pair of pitchers achieved notable firsts. Freshman Cody Sedlock earned his first collegiate win in his first appearance after taking over on the mound with two outs in the first inning. He kept the Illini within striking distance and allowed three runs in 4.2 innings. Sophomore Tyler Jay pitched the final two innings and notched his first career save with five strikeouts in the 19-13 slugfest.

Family Friendly Left Side
Illinois' left side of the infield has a new look in 2014 with the Roper brothers taking over the positions. Redshirt-junior Reid Roper moved to the hot corner this year after starting his first two seasons at second base, while freshman Ryne Roper made his collegiate debut at shortstop in the final two games at Georgia State. Reid celebrated his 22nd birthday on the first day of the season (Feb. 14) and is two-and-a-half years older than younger brother Ryne (19).