Michigan Knocks Illini From Big Ten Tournament
Jacob Cronenworth had three hits, drove in three runs and earned his seventh save to help Michigan beat Illinois 5-3 on Saturday to advance to the Big Ten championship game. The Illini (47-8-1) wil now look to the NCAA tournament. Regional hosts will be announced Sunday night.
Third-seeded Michigan (36-23) will face fourth-seeded Maryland on Sunday. The Terrapins (39-20) beat Indiana 4-2 on Saturday.
Trailing 3-2, the Wolverines were aided by two Illinois errors to load the bases with no outs in the sixth. Johnny Slater was hit by a pitch, a run scored on a double play and Cronenworth slid headfirst into first base for an RBI infield single. Cronenworth had a two-run single in the second.
Head Coach Dan Harleb said he's not concerned, despite bowing out Saturday in the double-elimination tournament at Target Field.
"We’ll be in good shape," he said. "We’re very confident with this group. They’re a group I can say a lot of things to. They understand when I say certain things, who we’re going after, what needs to be done and they take care of each other. I have absolutely no concerns going into the tournament.”
David Kerian hit his team-leading 14th home run in the top of the sixth for Illinois. Rob McDonnell (7-2) took the loss, allowing five unearned runs in five innings.
Bryan Pall (2-0) pitched 2-2-3 innings of one-hit relief for the win. Cronenworth pitched the final 1 2-3 innings.
Up next for Illinois: the 16 NCAA Regional hosts will be announced starting at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, on the NCAA Baseball social channels https://twitter.com/ncaacws, as well as https://www.facebook.com/NCAACWS
The regional hosts will also be shown on the BottomLine of the ESPN Networks starting at 8 p.m.
The 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show, with regional pairings, will be revealed in a live, one-hour telecast on ESPNU at 11 a.m. CT, Monday, May 25.