Springfield, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) - The No. 6 University of Illinois Springfield baseball team clinched the Great Lakes Valley Conference Green Division regular season title after a 22-0 blowout hosting William Jewell Sunday.
Kal Youngquist tied a school record scoring three home runs in the game, while the Prairie Stars tied a single-game record scoring eight home runs.
It was a team effort on the mound led by Blake Begner who pitched the first four innings. Ian Delleman, Austin Glidden, Eddie Wilkins, and Kenny Brokop also pitched Sunday. The five pitchers gave up three hits, walked one, and struck out 11 players.
It's no surprise the baseball team is good. Though success has not always come easy for the Prairie Stars who look to finish their regular season this upcoming weekend.
The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team is familiar with winning. The team has won 32 games and only lost four during the 2021 season. Head coach Ryan Copeland describes his squad as tough.
“We have a really talented group," Copeland said. "We knew that last year. We’ve had it rolling here for a few years now. This group is extremely tough and they play hard. They’re resilient. We get down in games and it never seems to matter. They always find a way to come back.”
The Prairie Stars have not only battled their opponent, but also the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this season the team had to pause competition for COVID-19 protocols.
“You can’t be a normal college kid right now," Copeland said. "You just can’t. We have a really good group, a veteran group that has prioritized our program and playing. I think that’s why we’re in the spot we’re in.”
They’re just happy to be out on the diamond.
“Really just fortunate enough to play this year, especially during COVID-19," UIS outfielder and pitcher Mason Coon said. "We kind of pieced it together throughout the year. We’ve won a lot of series.”
Among all of the memories the Stars have created this season. One memory has struck out the most. Pitcher Chad Saner’s no hitter in the Southwest Baptist series, the second no hitter in program history.
“I didn’t know until the last inning that he was throwing a no hitter and I think there were a lot of guys like that because I think we’ve just come to expect that as a program," UIS first baseman Chris Monroe said. "I think program wide we just expect that success so when it happens we’re not really surprised.”
The Prairie Stars look to sweep one more series this weekend hosting Quincy Unversity.