Kyle Hudson looks to extend his six-game hitting streak as the Illini travel to Lubbock, Texas, to take on Texas Tech in a four-game series this weekend.
March 5, 2008
ILLINOIS (2-4) at Texas Tech (5-5)
ILL Game 1 Probable: Kevin Manson (RHP, 1-0, 1.50 ERA)
TTU Game 1 Probable: A.J. Ramos (RHP, 0-2, 4.63 ERA)
ILL Game 2 Probable: Mike Stankiewicz (RHP, 0-0, 3.29 ERA)
TTU Game 2 Probable: Nate Karns (RHP, 1-0, 6.00 ERA)
ILL Game 3 Probable: Scott Shaw (RHP, 0-1, 10.57 ERA)
TTU Game 3 Probable: TBA
ILL Game 4 Probable: Aaron Martin (RHP, 0-1, 20.25 ERA)
TTU Game 4 Probable: Chad Bettis (RHP, 1-0, 2.84 ERA)
Live Stats: Gametracker on fightingillini.com
Live Audio/Video: Available at www.texastech.com
Series: Texas Tech leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Texas Tech won 4-1 (3/12/04)
Illini Visit Texas Tech
Looking to bounce back after an 0-3 showing at the QTI Baylor Classic last weekend, the Fighting Illini take the first trip to Lubbock, Texas, in school history to face Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 5-5 after going 1-2 last weekend at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park and sweeping two midweek games from Central Arkansas.
Illinois Against the Red Raiders
Illinois is 0-1 all-time against Texas Tech, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Red Raiders on March 12, 2004, at the Round Rock College Classic at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. Texas Tech scored three runs in the first inning of that contest and held on behind a steallar pitching performance from Steven Thomas. Ryan Hastings scored the Illini's only run of the game on Drew Davidson's base hit. Hastings was 0-for-2 with two walks on the day.
Illinois Against the Big 12
The Fighting Illini are 0-1 against the Big 12 this season, dropping a 20-6 decision at No. 22 Baylor on Feb. 29. All-time, Illinois is 29-44-1 against the Big 12. The Illini are 7-15 against the conference's Texas schools.
New Kids on the Block
In a scheduling quirk, Illinois has faced 13 of its 21 non-conference opponents fewer than five times. Since the majority of midweek games after Spring Trip are annual series, 13 of the 14 teams the Illini play in the first month of the season have faced the Orange and Blue five times or fewer in history.
Last Time Out: QTI Baylor Classic
The Fighting Illini fell behind early against host No. 22 Baylor on Friday of the QTI Baylor Classic and weren't able to recover the entire weekend, going 0-3 at the tournament. After each team went down in order in the first inning, Baylor exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the second and never looked back on its way to a 20-6 victory.
Illinois looked to right the ship on Saturday, taking a 3-0 lead against Stephen F. Austin after just two innings. But the Lumberjacks took the lead with a four-run fifth inning and added a run in the eighth. The Illini jumped back on top, though, with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, but the 'Jacks retook the lead with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth. Illinois scratched out a run in the bottom half, but pinch runner Dominic Altobelli was thrown out at home to end the game with SFA ahead, 8-7.
On Sunday, both Illinois and Illinois-Chicago entered the game knowing they wouldn't play the full nine innings because of travel arrangements. The Illini grabbed a 1-0 lead with a run in the second, but UIC scored seven runs in the second and third innings for a 7-1 advantage. Illinois scored one in the fourth and two more in the top of the sixth to close the gap to 7-4, but pinch hitter John Schlichter struck out with men on second and third to end the game.
Hudson Starts Season on Streak
Center fielder Kyle Hudson has started the 2008 season with a six-game hitting streak, one short of tying his career-long streak. Hudson is hitting a team-high .421, and already has a three-hit game, going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI against Stephen F. Austin on March 1. He also leads the team with three stolen bases, and his four runs and four walks are tied for the team lead.
Stockwell Increases Production
Right fielder Nick Stockwell increased his visibility in the Illini lineup this past weekend, taking over in right in all three games while going 4-for-8 (.500) in the No. 7 hole in the batting order. Stockwell filled the stat sheet with three runs, two RBIs, a double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch for a slugging percentage of .625 and an on-base percentage of .545. He also had Illinois' only sacrifice fly and sacrifice bunt of the weekend.
Illinois Returns to Stealing Ways
Much like the last two seasons, Illinois stole bases early and often in the season's first weekend, swiping 8-of-9 bases. The Illini slowed down on the second weekend, swiping just 1-of-2 bags at the QTI Baylor Classic. Five different Illini stole a base on the first weekend, with Kyle Hudson's 3-for-3 effort and Joe Bonadonna's 2-for-3 weekend leading the way. Hudson currently is tied for third in the Big Ten in steals.
Johnson Continues Canadian Catcher Tradition
Sophomore catcher Aaron Johnson may not have Illini fans asking "Lars who?" quite yet, but the rookie from New Brunswick certainly stepped in ably for his fellow Canadian in Illinois' first weekend, hitting .333 while throwing out 3-of-6 would-be base-stealers. Johnson also picked off a runner over the weekend. While he struggled offensively in the second weekend, Johnson threw out two more base-stealers, giving him a .625 caught stealing percentage on the season. He is Illinois' third Canadian catcher in the last four years, following Chris Robinson and Lars Davis, both of whom were third-round MLB Draft picks.
* Complete game notes available in above PDF.