OMAHA, Neb. (AP)Joe Stewart went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three runs to help Michigan beat Illinois 7-5 Thursday night in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
No. 5 seed Michigan (29-25) plays top-seeded Maryland in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Tito Flores singled to lead off the eighth inning and scored when Joey Velazquez hit a two-out line drive to right field. Jake Marti – after falling behind 0-2 – drew a walk and Jordon Rogers, who pinch ran for Velazquez at second base, scored on a single to left field by Clark Elliott to give the Wolverines a 6-4 lead.
Clark Elliott and Stewart hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the game and Stewart doubled to start the third inning and the scored when Matt Frey singled to left field to give Michigan a 3-1 lead.
Cam McDonald hit a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth before Ryan Hampe and Taylor Jackson followed with back-to-back doubles for No. 4 seed Illinois (31-21) to tie it a 3-all. Jimmy Obertop answered with a solo home run in the top of fifth but Cal Hejza’s two-out single for Illinois in the bottom of the sixth made 4-4.
Velazquez, who is a back-up linebacker and special teams player for the Michigan football team, had a career-high three hits.
Jackson finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Fighting Illini. Hejza, Hampe and McDonald added two hits apiece.
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