Diamond Notes #2: An Evening in Edinburg

Casey McMurray has started the first two games of the season in left field for the Illini.
Casey McMurray has started the first two games of the season in left field for the Illini.

Feb. 23, 2008

EDINBURG, Texas - Hey Illini Fans!

I'm sitting here in the hotel in Edinburg, Texas, after our second game of the season. We got the season started off on the right foot with a 6-4 victory last night over Sam Houston State, but dropped today's game against Texas State, 2-1. Tomorrow's game is at 9:00 again and then we head to the airport to come back to snowy Champaign for another week of school.

We've gotten some solid play so far from some players making their debuts in the Orange and Blue. Casey McMurray has been in left field and leading off the last two games. He's had some good looks at the plate and made some solid plays in the field defensively. Aaron Johnson has started both games behind the plate and has thrown out a runner trying to steal and picked a guy off first base. He also went 3-for-4 in today's game with some clutch hits. And Nick Chmielewski made his Illini debut on the mound with 2 2/3 innings of work. Even though he took the loss, there is a lot to build on for future outings. By the way, Matt Wille, our substitute sports information director for the weekend, definitely got a spelling lesson with the two pitchers used today being named Stankiewicz and Chmielewski. He got off easy on his first day by only having to type "Shaw" and "Manson" as pitchers.

We have an early curfew tonight because of the early game time tomorrow, so a bunch of guys are probably going to be watching the Memphis-Tennessee basketball game. Maybe some homework will be attempted, too...

We're back in Texas again next weekend in Waco for a tournament hosted by Baylor. We play them on Friday night and I hear the atmosphere at those games is pretty good. It'll be a good test to get an early game against a top team and a hostile crowd. I'll have another Diamond Note when I get a minute in Waco, so keep checking for that.

Go Illini! Michael Schroeder