Comia, Gowens and shine in Illini’s series-opening win over Southern Illinois

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against Southern Illinois

03/18/2023 | 1:00 p.m.


March 18 (Saturday) / 1pm CT

against Southern Illinois

BOONEVILLE, Mississippi – Fighting Illini baseball (8-6) opened the series against Southern Illinois (8-11) with a 3-2 victory at the Plex.

With two outs and the game tied 2-2 in the eighth, Branden Comia picked Cal Hejza at home for what would be the game-winning run in baseball.

Joe Glassey made his first save of the season working around the starting double and keeping the Salukis off the board to give the Illini the win.

It was Comia who started the action down the first, when he went the opposite way for his third home run of the season, a two-point shot on the video card on the right, after Danny Doligale had started with a walk.

The long ball was Comia’s 200th hit of his Illini career.

Illinois starter Riley Gowens was brilliant on his debut, striking out the first six batters he faced, three via strikeout, but Southern Illinois cut the lead in half in the third with a pair of doubles in the frame to make it 2-1.

The Salukis tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth, but Gowens faced just one batter over the minimum in the final three innings of his start, racking up five strikeouts in that span. The Libertyville, Illinois native hit the team in the eighth to hit a career high in innings pitched to go along with 10 strikeouts. It’s the second time this season he’s whipped up double-digit hitters on an outing.

Fighting Illini will be back in action tomorrow, with the first pitch against Southern Illinois from The Plex scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT.

Head coach Dan Hartleb has 515 career wins and is just four wins away from passing Lee Eilbracht (518) for the most in program history.
Riley Gowens earned his first win of the season, working a career-high 8.0 innings and allowing two runs on seven hits.
Gowens struck out 10 Salukis batters and walked zero.
Second double-digit batting of the season.
Branden Comia extended his scoring streak to 54 games after going 2-for-4 with a run, a home run and three RBIs.
He’s just nine games away from equaling Cam McDonald’s program record of 63 games, which was set last season.
Camden Janik has now hit safely in 13 of 14 games this season.
One of two Illini (B. Comia) to reach base safely in all 14 games this season.
Cam McDonald and Branden Comia each had multiple hit games for the Illini.
Danny Doligale walked twice in the ball game.
Doligale has walked at least once in six straight games, including three games on multiple walks in that span.
» Leads the Illini with 17 steps this season.
Illinois went 2 for 5 (.400) with runners in scoring position.
Illinois pitchers held Southern Illinois to just 2-for-12 (.167) with runners in scoring position.
Illinois pitchers faced 35 Southern Illinois batters in the game, allowing nine ground balls and six fly balls while striking out 11.
Walked only one, which was an intentional walk in the ninth.
The game was played in just 1h59.

This story was created using Data Skrive’s content automation technology.


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