Illini to Play Georgia Tech in Nashville Regional Opener

Senior Davis Hendrickson and the Illini return to an NCAA Regional for the second time in three years. They will face Georgia Tech on Friday at 1:05 p.m.
Senior Davis Hendrickson and the Illini return to an NCAA Regional for the second time in three years. They will face Georgia Tech on Friday at 1:05 p.m.

May 29, 2013

 #3 Illinois (34-18) vs. #2 Georgia Tech (34-25) - NCAA Nashville Regional
 Regional Info NCAA Nashville Regional Central
 Game 1 Friday, May 31, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, June 1, 2013 | TBA
 Location Hawkins Field | Nashville, Tenn.
 Live Video ESPN3 (Carter Blackburn & Ben McDonald)
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Live Audio Listen Online
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (Dave Loane & Matt Wille)
 Game Notes Illinois | Georgia Tech
 Game 1 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Kevin Duchene (LHP, Fr., 8-1, 2.69 ERA)
GT: Dusty Isaacs (RHP, Jr., 4-7, 4.77 ERA)
 Game 2 Pitching  Matchup ILL: TBA
 Series History Georgia Tech leads 3-1
 Last Meeting Split season series in 1930
(4/18/1930: ILL 4, GT 3 & 4/19/1930: GT 9, ILL 8)
 Streak Lost 1
 Social Media @IlliniBaseball   |  Facebook
 Preview Interviews Coach Hartleb | Davis Hendrickson | Brandon Hohl
Jordan Parr | Justin Parr

Illinois Is...
...playing in its second NCAA Regional in three years
...making its 10th NCAA appearance in school history
...facing Georgia Tech for the first time since 1930
...starting a freshman in the opening round
...1 of 2 Big Ten teams (Indiana) in the NCAA Tournament
...averaging over 6 runs and 10 hits per game
...28-0 when leading after eight innings
...25-1 when leading after seven innings
...21-2 when scoring 6 or more runs
...27-6 when holding opponents to 5 runs or fewer
...26-4 when out-hitting opponent
...26-8 when scoring first

UI Earns NCAA Regional At-Large Bid
Illinois (34-18) earned an at-large bid into the 2013 NCAA Tournament, as the Illini were selected as the No. 3 seed in the Nashville Regional. It is the Illini's second regional berth in the past three years, as they reached the championship game of the NCAA Fullerton Regional in 2011.

Illinois will face No. 2-seed Georgia Tech (34-25) in the first game of the regional, while host No. 1-seed Vanderbilt (51-9) and No. 4-seed East Tennessee State (36-22) also will square off in the first round of double-elimination regional play. The Illini will face the Yellow Jackets in the first game at Hawkins Field on Friday, May 31, at 1:05 p.m. CT, which will be broadcast on ESPN3.

The Illini's appearance in the NCAA Tournament will be their 10th in school history and first since 2011. UI is one of two Big Ten teams to qualify for a regional along with Indiana. This is head coach Dan Hartleb's second regional appearance as a head coach, as he led the team to the regional title game at the NCAA Fullerton Regional. He also was an assistant coach on Illinois' NCAA Tournament teams in 1998 and 2000 and was a graduate assistant coach on Southern Illinois' NCAA Tournament team in 1990.

The opening weekend of the NCAA Championship features 16 four-team regionals playing in a double-elimination format. Regional play runs from May 31-June 3, with the 16 winners advancing to super-regional play. The eight two-team Super Regional sites will be determined on Monday, June 3, with play scheduled to begin Friday, June 7, in a best-of-three series. The College World Series will take place June 15-26, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

Illinois at the NCAA Tournament
Illinois is 17-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and last reached the event in 2011, when the Illini advanced to the championship game of the Fullerton Regional in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange and Blue also qualified for a regional in two out of three years the last two times they reached the NCAA Tournament in 1998 and 2000. Below is a list of Illinois' NCAA Tournament appearances and records:

Year, Tournament, Site, Record
1947 - Eastern Finals - New Haven, Conn. - 0-1
1948 - District IV Playoffs - Champaign, Ill. - 2-0
1948 - Eastern Finals - Winston-Salem, N.C. - 0-2
1952 - District IV Playoffs - Champaign, Ill. - 2-3
1962 - District IV Playoffs - Kalamazoo, Mich. - 1-2
1963 - District IV Playoffs - Champaign, Ill. - 3-2
1989 - Northeast Regional - Waterbury, Conn. - 1-2
1990 - South II Regional - Starkville, Miss. - 2-2
1998 - South I Regional - Gainesville, Fla. - 3-2
2000 - Clemson Regional - Clemson, S.C. - 1-2
2011 - Fullerton Regional Fullerton, Calif. - 2-2
Overall - 10 Appearances - 17-20

Illinois Against Regional Field
Illinois has a short history against all of the teams at the Nashville Regional, holding a 1-3 record against its opening round opponent Georgia Tech. The Illini split a series in 1930 and dropped both games to the Yellow Jackets in 1914. The Illini own a 2-0 record against Vanderbilt with wins in 1915 (5-1) and 1893 (6-2). Illinois has never faced East Tennessee State, which earned the automatic bid out of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Illinois Against NCAA Field
Illinois faced one other team in the NCAA Tournament field, going 1-2 against Indiana, which is hosting the Bloomington Regional and the tournament's only other Big Ten team.

Illini Team Notes
National Player of the Year Semifinalist Justin Parr: Senior Justin Parr has been named a semifinalist for multiple national Player of the Year awards. He is one of 30 semifinalists up for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award (GSA), which is given to the nation's top amateur baseball player. The Chillicothe, Ill., native is the only player from the Big Ten and one of six seniors among the GSA semifinalists. Parr also is one of 40 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is given to college baseball's top player by the NCBWA. He also made the cut as a semifinalist for the inaugural Gregg Olson Award, given to college baseball's Breakout Player of the Year.

Big Ten Tournament Recap: Illinois finished 1-2 at the Big Ten Tournament, falling twice to Minnesota and topping Michigan at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. The Illini pitching staff turned in a 2.84 ERA, while UI's offense struggled, scoring only six runs in the three games. Illinois fell 3-2 to the Gophers in the opening round, but bounced back with a 3-2 win in its next game against the Wolverines, improving to 10-8 in one-run games this season. The Illini were knocked out of the tournament with a 3-2 to Minnesota, ending a 10-day stay in Minneapolis.

Making the Big Ten Tournament: Illinois clinched a berth into the Big Ten Tournament by taking two out of three from Minnesota at Siebert Field in the final series of the year. The Illini, who won five of their final six games, tied for fifth in the Big Ten with Michigan at 14-10.

Defense Keeps It Clean: Illinois has not committed an error over the past six games and has been perfect in the field in eight of the last nine contests. The Illini boosted their fielding percentage to .971, which is ranked fourth in the Big Ten.

Hartleb Matches Top Win Total: With its 3-2 win over Michigan (5/23) in the Big Ten Tournament, the Illini garnered their 34th victory, equaling the top win total under head coach Dan Hartleb, which came in 2009 when the club finished 34-20. The Illini also reached at least 30 wins for the fifth time in eight season under Hartleb.

Hits Translate to Wins: Illinois is 26-4 on the season when out-hitting its opponent and just 4-13 when getting out-hit by an opponent (also 4-1 when hits are equal). The Illini have recorded double-digit hits in 26 games this season and are averaging over 10 hits per game. UI ranks third in the Big Ten with 547 hits and second with a .298 batting average, which ranks 38th in the NCAA.

Illini Dig the Long Ball: After Justin Parr hit his career-high sixth home run against Penn State (5/10), Illinois is up to 29 homers on the year, which is ranked second in the Big Ten and matched its total from 2011 when it qualified for the NCAA Fullerton Regional. The Illini have hit a dry spell at the end of the season, going homerless over the past eight games.

Big Ten Stolen Base Leaders: The Illini led the Big Ten with 106 stolen bases in 131 attempts, which is ranked in 18th in the NCAA. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr leads the team and is tied for first in the Big Ten with 23 steals, while sophomore David Kerian is tied for fifth in the conference with 20 stolen bases. Eleven different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue boast four players in double figures (also Justin Parr: 15 & Thomas Lindauer: 13).

Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 15-6 when scoring in the first inning and 26-8 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 49-29 in the first frame, which is its highest-scoring inning. UI ranked third in the Big Ten with 323 runs and outscored its opponents (223 runs) in every inning. The Illini are averaging 6.2 runs per game in 2013 and have reached double figures in nine games.