Digging In On The Diamond

Digging In On The Diamond

Welcome, my Orange & Blue friends, time to dig-in on the Illini baseball squad.

The good news? The Diamond Nine are 23-13 overall and 10-2 in the conference. We are currently in 1st place in the B1G by two games over Nebraska and Purdue and three games clear of Michigan.

The bad news? Our RPI as of this writing is No. 70. That puts us behind not only the usual assemblage of ACC, Big 12 and SEC schools, but also behind such noted powerhouses as UConn (No. 36) and Northeastern (No. 40). In fact, we’re not even the highest-ranked member of our state-school system – take a bow UIC for checking in at No. 53 with a record of 23-12! (Side note: it occurred to me while writing that last sentence that I can’t remember the last time Illinois played UIC in baseball. Not even a quick Google can tell me. I know they’ve met 27 times, but I can’t find the last time.)

The culprit behind that lower than we’d like RPI? A lackluster showing in the early season against some high-end squads. Over the first month of the season – all played on the road or, at best, neutral sites – Illinois faced off against and lost to (in order of appearance on the schedule):

  • No. 9 Wake Forest
  • No. 13 Coastal Carolina
  • No. 5 Tennessee (3-game sweep)
  • No. 6 Florida State
  • No. 10 Indiana State

That’s a 5-10 record over the first month of the season with 7 of those losses coming to some really good programs. Those other 3 losses – to Akron (No. 253), Cincinnati (No. 87) and Ball State (No. 127) – don’t help our cause, nor do the wins over the aforementioned Zips, Eastern Illinois (No. 257) or Fordham (No. 142).