Illinois Wins Big Ten Baseball Tournament; Awaits NCAA Tourney Assignment
The Illini baseball team beat the Michigan State Spartans 9-1 Saturday night, to win the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, and a berth in the upcoming NCAA Baseball Tournament. It's Illinois' first Big Ten title and NCAA berth in baseball since 2000.
The win also marks the first time in U of I history that Illinois has won both the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles in the same season.
Junior left-hander Corey Kimes threw his first complete game, striking out a career-high seven batters. Senior first baseman Matt Dittman hit a grand slam home run in the third inning. Both players were named to the All-Tournament Team, along with center fielder Willie Argo, starting pitcher John Anderson, designated hitter Justin Parr and catcher Adam Davis, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Illinois has defeated Michigan State earlier in the tournament, 4 to 1 in Game 8 on Friday night. Michigan State went on to beat Minnesota in Saturday afternoon's elimination game, putting them in place to play Illinois for the tournament title Saturday evening.
Illinois now waits for Monday morning, when they'll learn what their regional assignment will be for the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Regional tournament play begins Friday, June 3rd.