CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois baseball team officially opened the 2020 season on Friday afternoon with its first practice at the Irwin Indoor Facility. The Illini are coming off a 36-21 season, making their first NCAA tournament appearance in four years. A poor ending to the season, losing four straight, has this year’s team hungry to get back on the field.
“We were far too talented to lose the way we did,” Illinois senior closer Garrett Acton said. “Going two and out in the Big Ten tournament and the same in the Regional. We under-performed and I think everyone on that team would tell you the same thing.”
“Not the way you want to end the season and something we need to do a better job of,” Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. “It just drives you that much more to figure out a way to get to that position where we’re playing at a higher level.”
Illinois loses seven draft picks from last year, including key guys Michael Massey, Ben Troike and Andy Fisher. Nearly half the team are newcomers, including 12 freshmen. The first game is Feb. 14 against Milwaukee in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.