NCAA Baseball Lexington Regional: Illinois 4, Indiana State 1

Senior Jack Crowder pitched eight strong innings as third-seeded Illinois topped second-seeded Indiana State 4-1 on Friday night in the second game of the Lexington Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament at Kentucky Proud Park.

Crowder pitched a season-high eight innings, allowing just one earned run and three hits. He did not walk a batter but struck out five.

Illinois (35-19) scored first, plating a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, first baseman Drake Westcott singled through the right side, scoring Connor Milton and Cal Hejza to give Illinois a 2-0 lead.

Crowder rolled through the first three innings without allowing a hit. Indiana State’s Randal Diaz got the Sycamores on the board with a solo home run down the left field line, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

The Fighting Illini extended its lead to 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning when Brody Harding singled to left field, scoring Westcott. And Illinois added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Milton scored on a passed ball, making it 4-1.

With the win, Illinois advances to tomorrow’s winner’s bracket game against homestanding Kentucky at 6 p.m. Indiana State will face Western Michigan on Saturday at noon in an elimination game.

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