CHAMPAIGN, Illinois -- The Illinois Fighting Illini rode early scoring to victory on Saturday afternoon against the Michigan Wolverines. It was the regular-season finale, which the Fighting Illini won, 6-3.
The Fighting Illini (28-23, 12-12 Big Ten) struck for three runs on four hits in the bottom of the second inning and held the lead for the rest of the game.
Junior Johnny Slater collected the first hit of the game for Michigan in the top of the third inning and Michael Brdar, a junior, followed it up with a double to right-center field. Jack Bivens, with runners on second and third, grounded out to second base, allowing Slater to score.
Illinois added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning and two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 6-1 lead over the Maize and Blue.
Ako Thomas, a freshman, led off the top of the eighth inning with a walk and senior Cody Bruder followed it up with a two-run jack to right field. The home run, which was the second of the season for Bruder, cut Michigan's deficit to three runs.
The Wolverines (35-19, 13-10 Big Ten) put runners on first and second in the top of the ninth but were unable to score, dropping the game 6-2 on Saturday night. Evan Hill, a left-hander, was given the loss.
Slater tallied three hits and Brdar picked up two hits to lead the Maize and Blue. Bruder and Bivens each had one hit for a grand total of just seven hits on the day. Michigan added three walks to their offense.
Despite the loss, Michigan will move to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed next week. In the first game of the tournament, which is on Wednesday at 10:00 PM ET, the Wolverines will face the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes. The battle between two bitter rivals will be played in Omaha, Nebraska.