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    Diamond Notes #5: A Look Back and Ahead
    Bryan Roberts pitched eight strong innings to help the Illini to a 3-2 win over Michigan State in the middle game of the series last weekend.

    Bryan Roberts pitched eight strong innings to help the Illini to a 3-2 win over Michigan State in the middle game of the series last weekend.

    March 30, 2009

    Hey Illini Fans,

    We would normally be at practice right now, but today is an off day following the weekend series against Michigan State and before our first two midweek games tomorrow and Wednesday. Things really start picking up once we start midweek games. It generally means that we are playing five games per week and getting less and less practice time. While that might be a good thing sometimes, it also means that there is less of an opportunity to work on things that might come up in a weekend series. Here's a little scheduling insight for you, too (no extra charge). We're actually even playing more midweek games this year than usual because of the shift to three-game conference series instead of four-game series. We have to find an extra eight games to just cover the loss of conference games.

    We got the conference season off to a good start this past weekend with a three-game sweep of Michigan State. Lee Zerrusen started on Friday night and shut down the Spartans for six innings before handing the ball over to Aaron Martin and John Anderson, who didn't allow a hit in three innings of work to seal the win. The top three guys in our batting order each had three hits to lead the offense. We had some weather problems on Saturday that forced game two to be postponed, but we were able to play two games yesterday to finish the series. We got two great games on the mound from Bryan Roberts and Will Strack to finish off the sweep. It was great to see how these two freshmen were not fazed by the cold weather and snow or the fact that it was our first conference series.

    After a trip on I-74 to Normal tomorrow for a game against Illinois State we are back at Illinois Field on Wednesday for a game against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, before another Big Ten home series next weekend against Indiana. Hopefully we will see the Illini Faithful out in full force for these home games. Things are really clicking on the field right now and it's fun to watch. Not to mention that games at Illinois Field are always a great way to get an afternoon or evening of family fun. There are some great promotions on tap at the ballpark.

    Until next time, go Illini!
    Michael Schroeder

    Illinois Athletics

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