Illini Take Two From Rutgers; Extend Winning Streak to 23

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 CHAMPAIGN (via fightingillini.com) -- In game two of the doubleheader at Illinois Field, the No. 3 Fighting Illini racked up a 23-game winning streak and sealed the Saturday sweep of Rutgers with a 6-2 win. Starter Drasen Johnson (8-2) did not allow a walk and gave up one run over seven quality innings before junior J.D. Nielsen notched the final six outs for his second save.

Eight of the nine Illini starters had a hit, as the Orange and Blue posted 11 knocks in their 20th comeback win of the season under head coach Dan Hartleb.

Rutgers got on the board with a pair of doubles in the first, but Illinois responded immediately with three runs in the bottom half. Redshirt-sophomore Adam Walton, who went 2-for-3 with two runs, two walks and an RBI, crossed home in the first when junior Ryan Nagle singled to second base.

Junior Jason Goldstein drilled his seventh homer that left the yard in a hurry and gave UI a 3-1 edge after one. He totaled five RBI on the day.

Senior David Kerian connected on his second two-out RBI single of the doubleheader when he drove in senior Casey Fletcher in the third.

Four straight scoreless innings followed before the Illini tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth. Walton tripled home sophomore Ryne Roper, who walked, and Nagle brought home Walton with a sacrifice fly.

Nielsen worked a perfect eighth on 10 pitches and allowed an unearned run in the ninth before sealing the doubleheader sweep.

Johnson moved into 10th place on the UI all-time list with 258.1 career innings pitched. He currently leads the Big Ten with 94 innings pitched in 2015.

Illinois Field was filled with 3,111 fans on Saturday, marking the eight-largest crowd in school history. The 2015 season has seen four of the nine biggest crowds at Illinois Field, which opened in 1988.

Up Next: No. 3 Illinois will go for the sweep of Rutgers on Sunday at 11 a.m. during the fourth-annual Honor and Serve Day. The Illini will wear special camouflage uniforms that the Fighting Illini Dugout Club will auction off with proceeds going to Crisis Nursery.

Fighting Illini Game Notes
• Illinois is off to its best start in school history with a 42-6-1 record. The Illini's 42 wins are tied for fourth on the program's all-time list. The school record for victories is 49 in 1982.

• UI has won a program-record 17 straight Big Ten tilts and sit in first place atop the conference standings at 18-1, marking Illinois' most wins during a 24-game Big Ten season, which began in 2009. The school record for Big Ten victories in a 32-game season is 20 in 2005.

• Illinois' magic number to win the Big Ten Championship is three. Iowa is in second place at 17-3.

• Illinois is on a school-record 23-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the country.

• It is the second-longest streak in the NCAA this year behind Texas A&M (24). The NCAA record winning streak of 34 is owned by Texas (1977) and Florida Atlantic (1999). The longest winning streak by a Big Ten team is 26 by Nebraska (1983).

• Illinois has outscored its opponents 172-71 during its 23-game winning streak. The Illini boast a .301 average and 2.28 ERA during that span. UI has overcome a deficit in 14 of the games and has 20 total comeback wins on the year.

• UI's 13-game home winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation. The Illini also boast the longest active road winning streak (10) and best road record (17-2-1) in the nation.

• Illinois boasts the No. 1 winning percentage (0.867) in NCAA Division I Baseball and has the fewest losses (6). The Illini are tied for first in the nation with 42 wins.

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