Baseball Wins Big Ten Opener, 10-1
March 23, 2001
Champaign, Ill. - The University of Illinois Baseball team opened Big Ten play in resounding fashion this afternoon at Illinois Field, defeating Michigan State, 10-1, behind a three-hitter from Illini ace Andy Dickinson. With the win Illinois improves to 9-9 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten while Michigan State drops to 8-8 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play.
Illinois jumped out to an 8-0 lead after sending 11 batters to the plate in the first inning. The big blows of the inning included a three-run home run off the bat of freshman second baseman Andy Hilligoss, his first career home run, and a solo shot from rightfielder Brady Ballard two batters later.
Illinois added single runs in both the fifth and seventh to close out the scoring. Hilligoss finished his day 1-for-4 with three RBI and Rob Fischer was 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI. Luke Simmons went 3-for-4 with two RBI, and catcher Patrick Arlis also picked up two RBI with a 2-for-4 outing.
Dickinson improved to 4-0 by throwing a one-hitter into the ninth inning. Twice he struck out the side, both in the second and eighth innings, and he faced just one batter over the minimum until the ninth inning. In the ninth MSU scored its only run when pinch hitter Kevin Crews doubled home leftfielder Chris McCuiston, who had singled with one out.
Illinois returns to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader against the Spartans at Illinois Field. The series will conclude with a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.