Illinois, Iowa survive elimination games

After falling to Michigan State and Indiana respectively in their openers, Illinois and Iowa survived Thursday’s elimination games to maintain life in the Big Ten Tournament.

Illinois scored two runs in the top of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and reliever Tyler Jay pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the inning to maintain a 6-5 lead. Jay then pitched two perfect innings after that to earn the save. Illinois first baseman David Kerian, catcher Jason Goldstein and second baseman Reid Roper each drove a run in. Center fielder Will Krug and shortstop Adam Walton each recorded two hits and two runs.

Iowa broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Dan Potempa that scored second baseman Jake Mangler. Iowa starter Blake Hickman allowed just one run in five innings. Left-hander Jared Mandel pitched three critical scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, and Tyler Radtke pitched a hitless ninth for the save. Minnesota right-hander Ben Meyer took a loss in an eight-inning complete game, striking out six batters and allowing just four hits, but two runs, one of which was unearned because of Minnesota’s only error.

Iowa advances to play the loser of tonight’s Indiana-Michigan game. Illinois will play the loser of this evening’s Michigan State-Nebraska game.