Brian Blomquist was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after throwing eight shutout innings of three-hit ball at Michigan State, pushing Illinois into a No. 5 seed in this week's Big Ten Tournament.
May 23, 2006
After completely stifling Michigan State's high-powered offense and pitching Illinois to a No. 5 seed in this week's Big Ten Tournament, senior right-handed pitcher Brian Blomquist was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. It is Blomquist's second conference honor, as he earned a Pitcher of the Week nod on March 1, 2005 following his first start back from Tommy John surgery.
Blomquist pitched Illinois into the Big Ten Tournament with a season-high eight shutout innings at Michigan State on Sunday to get just his first win of May and second since April 1. He gave up just three hits and a walk while recording a career-high eight strikeouts. The Illini senior recorded 17 of his 24 outs via ground balls or strikeouts.
After giving up two hits in the first inning, he recorded 11 straight outs before allowing his lone walk in the fifth. Following that walk, Blomquist, who earns the final Pitcher of the Week selection of 2006, retired 10 consecutive batters before allowing a two-out single in the eighth. He threw 93 pitches, 63 for strikes (68 percent), and had only two three-ball counts in his eight innings of work.
The Illini begin play in the Big Ten Tournament against No. 4 seed Minnesota Wednesday at 11 a.m. (CT). The tournament is being held at Michigan's Ray Fisher Stadium since the Wolverines were the Big Ten regular season champion with a 23-9 league record.