The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: May 15, 2024

May 15—➜ See staff writer 's story on Parkland ace, slugger and future Illini as a clear-cut example.

➜ . Eberle helped pitch the Salukis to a Missouri Valley Conference tournament title last Saturday with 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief in SIU's 3-2 win against Northern Iowa.

➜ The Salukis (42-9) open against California (36-17) at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Baton Rouge, La.

Home runs — a single-season record — and counting for the Illinois baseball team. The Illini have five players with at least 10 home runs, led by 15 from , before they head to Purdue for a crucial three-game Big Ten series that starts Thursday night at Alexander Field in West Lafayette, Ind. The Illini (30-17, 15-6 Big Ten) hold a one-game lead on Nebraska (32-18, 14-7) entering the final week of the regular season, with Purdue, Indiana and Michigan all two games back.

➜ . Centennial and reigning Class 3A high jump state champion begin the postseason on Wednesday at the 16-team meet, along with Champaign Central and Danville.

➜ . Field events are set to begin at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, with running events at 4 p.m. Along with host Rantoul, Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, Unity and Urbana are part of the 17-team meet.

➜ . Tuscola and its standout distance runners, led by Illinois signee Louisville signee and SIU signee are among six area teams at the 18-team meet in Bethany on Wednesday.

➜ the Chicago Bears.

➜ Mike Ditka, Andy Reid and Phil Jackson.

➜ slowing down before the finish line.