The University of Illinois baseball team returned home on Tuesday for a faceoff against Eastern Illinois University at Illinois Field after dropping two out of three over the weekend at Nebraska. What looked be a potential blowout early turned into a close competition that kept fans in their seats for its entirety despite the frigid temperatures and gusting wind.
The Illini bats were hot early, scoring nine runs by the fifth inning, which left them with a respectable 9-2 lead heading into the seventh inning. The early offensive assault was led by senior catcher Jason Goldstein with two hits, a homerun and three RBI’s and freshman centerfielder Doran Turchin who went three for three and scored two runs.
The game seemed to be decided but the EIU Panthers battled back scoring three runs in the seventh inning and adding two more in the eighth inning while holding the Illini scoreless. The Panthers had the momentum going into the top of the ninth inning but the Illini called on their closer Nick Blackburn, the fifth Illini pitcher to enter the game, who was able to keep the Pathers scoreless and secure the victory.
The Illini return to action this weekend playing games Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Iowa before returning home next Tuesday to face Illinois State.
See the full gallery here: [gallery illinois_baseball_heats_up_on_cold_day]
Tyler is a graphic designer and award-winning photographer who specializes in sports, music, and event photography. Contact him directly via email, visit his website or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.