According to an article from The Daily Illini and confirmed by Dan Hartleb, Tanner Roark has been left off the 2008 baseball squad do to academic issues. This is a huge loss for Illinois as he was expected to lead the rotation in 2008 after a respectable season which saw him tie for the conference lead in wins with six. The full article is available here.
November 14th was the first day that recruits for the 2008-2009 school year could sign their letter of intent. We have found many schools have put out a listing of the recruits who have signed already. A couple of highlights are that UCLA has signed three AFLAC All-Americans, Illinois picked up four in-state recruits, and finally Southern Miss picked up three players from Mississippi. The full list is below.
The Fighting Illini have announced their 2008 schedule which is highlighted by trips to Texas Tech, Baylor, and University of Texas-Pan American. The team will take part in tournaments at Baylor and UTPA while playing a three game set against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. The team will make their annual spring break trip to Florida from March 14th-21st where they will play six games against Northern schools. The Illini will play conference home series against Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, and Purdue. They will head on the road to play Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio State for conference series. The conference tournament will take place from May 21st-24th at the regular season champs field. The full schedule is available here.
The University of Illinois infielders Joe Bonadonna and Brandon Wikoff were recognized for their summer accomplishments. Bonadonna played for the Duluth Huskies in the Northwoods League where he received the Silver Glove Award (top defensive player) for second basemen. He was also named to the league’s post season All-Star team. Bonadonna also broke the Northwoods league record for stolen bases in a season with 45 in 56 attempts. Wikoff received accolades from Perfect Game Crosschecker as the 24th best prospect in the Northwoods League and picked up a spot on the post season All-Star team. The full release is available here.
We recently came across some information that Illinois has added another player from Canada for next season in catcher Aaron Johnson from Sussex, New Brunswick. He is now the fourth player in the last seven years from Canada to join the Illinois program. He is following in the footsteps of Lars Davis who was a third round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2007. Johnson is currently playing for the Lethbridge Bulls in the Western Major Baseball League in Canada which is a summer league which is comparable to many of the top summer leagues in the United States. He is hitting .341 with the team this summer. The full press release is available here.
According to multiple sources, The University of Maine has picked up four transfers for the 2008 season. Joe Mercurio is coming from Illinois where he was the backup to All-American catcher Lars Davis. Mercurio was only able to get into eleven games while only starting three games. (The Baseball Zealot has more on Mercurio.) The Black Bears also picked up High Point University right-hander Joe Miller. he pitched in only six games in 2007 while making one start with no record and a 8.31 ERA. The other two players are Greg Doogan and Tony Patane who played with UConn-Avery Point in 2007. Doogan is a 6’5 230 pound right-hander while Patane is a 6’0 shortstop from New Milford CT. It should be interesting to see how this Maine program does under second year head coach Steve Trimper who led the program to a disappointing 22-31 record in his first year.
The Baseball Zealot has recently posted an interview with Illinois Head Coach Dan Hartleb. It gives you some insight into the baseball program they are building. The full article is available here.
I was recently tipped off about an interview with Shawn Roof of the University of Illinois Baseball Team. He spoke about many different topics including the upcoming 2007 season and how it is to grow up the son of a professional baseball coach in Gene Roof. The full interview is available here.
Hat Tip to Big Ten Hardball for the link.
Ryan Hastings of Illinois went 2 for 3 on Monday in an intrasquad scrimmage to take a 2 games to 1 lead on the Orange Team. Hastings started the game off with a bunt single then stole second and scored on another base hit to bring him around. Coach Dan Hartleb had the following to say about Hastings “He brought some great energy to the Blue team today. They did a good job of coming out very focused and jumping on the Orange team early.” Hastings will try to lead the Illini in their goal of winning the Big 10 conference in 2007.
Full release on the Intrasquad scrimmage available here.
My good buddy from Big Ten HardBall has posted a link to the University of Illinois schedule for the 2007 season. There is a ton of open game dates during their annual spring break trip. There are zero marquee OOC games they will play at home this year but they have a full Big Ten schedule which is always a challenge to unseat Ohio State as the perennial power in that conference.
Full Schedule available here.