Joe Bonadonna earned his first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor Monday after hitting .692 in Illinois' series victory at Minnesota.
April 21, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois junior second baseman Joe Bonadonna was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week along with Northwestern's Jake Goebbert, the conference office announced Monday. It is Bonadonna's first career weekly honor and the first by an Illini since Ryan Hastings earned the honor on April 10, 2007.
Bonadonna hit an astonishing .692 to lift Illinois to a series victory at Minnesota, scoring four runs and driving in three while reaching base at a .706 clip and stealing three bases. It was the first time a conference opponent has won a four-game series from the Gophers at Siebert Field since 2000.
Bonadonna currently has a string of seven consecutive hits after finishing game one of Sunday's doubleheader with three-straight singles, leading off game two with a double and following that up with three more singles, including a two-run base hit in the fifth inning. He also dropped down a key sacrifice bunt in the top of the ninth that helped spur Illinois' five-run game-winning frame.
The Buffalo Grove, Ill., native recorded consecutive multiple-hit games in Sunday's doubleheader, including the second four-hit game of his career in the series finale. Bonadonna is now leading the Illini with a .418 average in Big Ten play and is 10-of-11 stealing bases in conference action. He is having a career year, hitting .364 with 43 hits, 28 runs, seven doubles, 23 RBIs and 18 steals overall, all career-bests.
With the series victory over the Gophers, the Illini tie the school record for Big Ten road victories, as all nine of Illinois' conference victories have come on the road. Illinois currently stands in third place in the league with a 9-7 record and a 21-14 overall mark. The Orange and Blue start a season-long 11-game homestand Tuesday when they host Illinois State at 6:05 p.m.