CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois baseball team’s offense may be fun to watch but it’s the team’s defense that’s truly leading the way. The Illini are second best in the Big Ten with a .279 average but first in the nation in fewest errors per game at 0.6
“We’ve got really good athletes on the field,” Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. “The guys have been good defenders, so it helps our pitching staff tremendously not only with their mindset, but making the extra plays that some other teams can’t make.”
“Coach Christ and Coach Courtwright have done a really good job of helping us out defensively and I’ll be a testament to that,” Illinois junior second baseman Michael Massey said. “They’re out here early hitting us ground balls, working on our footwork. Practice makes perfect and that’s the biggest thing is just how much work we put in.”
Illinois (31-16, 10-8 B1G) is fourth in the country in fielding percentage at .982. It’s helped the Illini win nine of their last 12 games, including four straight series wins. The team plays its last home games of the season this weekend welcoming Purdue to town. First pitch in the three game series is scheduled for Friday night at 6 p.m.