Baseball
Diamond Note #6: Preparing for Michigan

 
After defeating Bradley 11-9 on Tuesday, the Illini practice on Wednesday and travel to Michigan for this weekend's series on Thursday afternoon.
After defeating Bradley 11-9 on Tuesday, the Illini practice on Wednesday and travel to Michigan for this weekend's series on Thursday afternoon.
 

April 8, 2009

Hey Illini Fans,

If you braved the cold at Illinois Field last night, you witnessed some history. Brandon Wikoff became the first Fighting Illini player to hit for the cycle since 1990 when he did it in our win against Bradley. He needed a triple in his last at bat and made it happen with a three-bagger to left-center. That hit also drove in what ended up being the game-winning run, so it was certainly a timely hit.

We're practicing this afternoon before leaving tomorrow for Ann Arbor and a three-game series against Michigan. Practices in between midweek games and weekend series are usually used to fix some small problems that may have come up during the week. Some pitchers who didn't see action yesterday also will get some work in off the mound to stay sharp, so these days are always important for everybody. We don't want to have any wasted days at this point in the season.

This weekend's series with Michigan is a big one. They are still the Big Ten team that people recognize most nationally because of their three consecutive conference championships and the fact that they made it to an NCAA Super Regional a couple of years ago. It should be a great series. The Friday night game is on Big Ten Network at 6:00 central time and all three games are on WDWS here in Champaign and live on FightingIllini.com, so be sure to check that out. Because the Big Ten Tournament has been hosted by Michigan the last three years, I'll be making my fifth trip in four years to Ann Arbor. I think I might save the team some money and just drive the bus myself.

In other news, there is a new addition to Diamond Notes to report. A reader's mailbox has been created at illinoisdiamondnotes@gmail.com. To start things off, you can send your questions about the team, players or Big Ten baseball in general and I'll do my best to answer them in the next edition of Diamond Notes. I'm not going to give out our signs for the hit-and-run or anything like that, so I don't want any of our opponents writing in to try to get an edge. If this works well, we might try to take questions for specific players next time.

So, feel free to send in your questions for Diamond Notes. And make sure you tune in to the Big Ten Network and WDWS this weekend to follow the team in Ann Arbor.

Until next time, Go Illini!
Michael Schroeder

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