Musketeers Head To Illinois For Weekend Series On The Diamond

Tres Eberhardt is hitting .385 over the last 11 games for the Musketeers.

Tres Eberhardt is hitting .385 over the last 11 games for the Musketeers.

March 20, 2014

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CINCINNATI - Xavier baseball will head to Champaign, Ill., for a four-game weekend series at Illinois. The Musketeers bring an 11-7 record into the series and have won three of their last four, while the Illini are 8-9 on the season and have lost five of seven.

The starting pitchers have been key to Xavier's early success. Weekend starters Vinny Nittoli, Adam Hall and Scott Klever have combined for a 7-2 record. Nittoli, the reigning College Sports Madness BIG EAST Player of the Week, is a perfect 3-0 and sports a 0.38 ERA, which leads the BIG EAST and ranks 12th nationally. When Nittoli takes the mound Saturday afternoon for his scheduled start, he will move into a tie for eighth-place with his 42nd career start.

Adam Hall (2-0, 2.37 ERA) will get the starting nod on Friday, while Scott Klever (2-2, 3.55 ERA) gets the nod in game two on Saturday and Eric Stiene (1-0, 0.00) takes the mound on Sunday.

Derek Hasenbeck, Tres Eberhardt and Joe Forney have paced the Musketeers at the plate lately. Hasenbeck went 6-for-10 with three runs and two RBIs this week against Ohio and Ohio State, and Tres Eberhardt brings an 11-game hitting streak into the weekend. Eberhardt is batting .385 during the stretch. A Preseason All-BIG EAST selection, Forney is tied for the conference lead with nine doubles (30th nationally).

Illinois will trot Drasen Johnson (2-2), Ryan Casellanos (1-1), John Kravetz (1-1) and Rob McDonnell (1-0) to the mound.

The two teams take to the field at 4 p.m., Friday and will follow with a noon doubleheader on Saturday. Xavier and Illinois will close the series at noon on Sunday.