Illinois gets off to best start in Big Ten in 100-plus years, tops Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 10 Illinois capped a perfect weekend in Happy Valley with a 6-3 victory, sweeping Penn State and setting a school record with 17 consecutive wins. The Illini increased the best start in school history to 36-6-1 and remained in first place in the Big Ten.
Illinois also has won 12 consecutive conference games and started Big Ten action 13-1 for the second time in school history. The only other time both those feats were accomplished was in 1911 under head coach George Huff.
UI's 17-game winning streak is the longest active in the NCAA and second-longest this season behind only Texas A&M (24).
The Illini jumped out to a 4-0 advantage with four runs on five hits in the second. With one out and seniors Casey Fletcher and David Kerian on the corners, senior Will Krug perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt for the first run.
After a walk and pop out, junior Ryan Nagle poked a two-out, two-run single to center. Redshirt-senior Reid Roperfollowed with an RBI single the opposite way to left field.
PSU pushed across an unearned with an RBI groundout in the third, while the Illini answered in the fifth when Kerian plated Fletcher with a sacrifice fly.
The Nittany Lions capitalized on leadoff doubles with a run in the sixth on an RBI single and another in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
Starter John Kravetz improved to 4-0 on the season with six solid innings on Sunday. He is now 23-7 in his career and owns 318 career innings pitched, moving him into third place past Brett Weber (315.2 IP) on the Illinois all-time list.