OXFORD, Miss. (WCIA) — Grant Van Scoy is playing with a chip on his shoulder and it’s a mindset the Illinois senior is thriving in. Despite leading the Illini at the plate this season with a .347 average, the third baseman was completely left off the Big Ten All-Conference teams.
“Honestly I was glad I got left off the Big Ten team. It’s given me the motivation to go out and play the way I did in the Big Ten tournament,” says Van Scoy.
Van Scoy raked in his home state of Nebraska at last week’s conference tourney, going 4-for-7. It’s a small part of his breakout final season in orange and blue. After hitting just .234 last season, Van Scoy’s average was second in the league this year.
“It’s tough to have a good year and to have the year that I had and not get any recognition. It was tough, it definitely humbled me a little bit,” says Van Scoy.
“It was a disappointment, I thought he deserved it so it’s kind of like, let’s go out prove people wrong right now,” says Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb.
Despite his success at the plate, Van Scoy has hit seventh in the order all season. His .440 on-base percentage leads the team, giving the Illini a jump start in the bottom third of the order.
“He’s really been a nice piece down in that seven hole, really turns the lineup over really well. His consistency has been there all year, keeps guys loose in the dugout, he’s just awesome,” says Michael Massey.
And he’ll look to use that steady play this weekend as the Illini try to win just their second NCAA Regional in school history.
“This is huge. We knew going into the season that we had a really good team, that we could do something special so it’s nice to put Illinois back on the map where they belong.”
First pitch between Illinois and Clemson set for Friday May 31, 3 p.m. CT on ESPNU.