Champaign, Ill. – The Nebraska baseball team (23-28, 7-14 Big Ten) was officially eliminated from contention for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament following a 13-6 loss to Illinois at Illinois Field on Friday evening.
In the top of the first, NU left one baserunner stranded in a scoreless frame as Jesse Wilkening drew a two-out walk. Illinois took a 1-0 lead with one run in the bottom of the first. Michael Massey hit an RBI single that brought in Ben Troike after he was hit-by-pitch. Troike stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch.
Angelo Altavilla smashed his fifth home run of the season in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1. The Fighting Illini went down in order in the bottom of the second.
NU went down 1-2-3 in the top of the third with two flyouts and a strikeout. Illinois left two baserunners on after a leadoff single and a strikeout-wild pitch, but the score remained tied at 1-1.
Jaxon Hallmark hit a two-out single and stole second in the fourth, but was left stranded after an inning-ending strikeout. Illinois scored five runs on four hits to take a 6-1 lead after the bottom of the fourth.
Joe Acker hit a two-out single in the top of the fifth, but remained stranded when the inning ended on a flyout. Illinois extended its lead to 9-1 with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first two Illini hitters reached on a double and a single. A sacrifice fly brought in one run before Zac Taylor hit a two-run homer to left field.
In the top of the sixth, Wilkening, Hallmark and Alex Henwood each singled to load the bases with two outs, but a groundout ended a scoreless frame for the Big Red. Illinois tacked on four runs in the bottom of the sixth on six hits. Bren Spillane hit a leadoff home run before five of the next six Illini batters recorded hits.
In the top of the seventh, NU went down in order. The Fighting Illini also went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Nebraska scored five runs in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to 13-6. Scott Schreiber reached on a strikeout-wild pitch in the leadoff spot before Wilkening blistered a home run to score both of them. Hallmark drew a one-out walk before Henwood singled. Altavilla walked to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Hallmark before Mike Addante’s two-RBI single. Brison Cronenbold hit a double to advance Addante to third, but both runners remained stranded after a groundout ended the inning. Illinois went down in order in the bottom of the eighth.
All three Husker batters in the top of the ninth were retired.
The Huskers and Fighting Illini wrap up their three-game series with the regular-season finale on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT).