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Illinois baseball earns NCAA tournament berth

May 27—CHAMPAIGN — Illinois had to wait for late Monday morning to find out its NCAA tournament fate after bowing out of the Big Ten tournament on Friday night. While not a certainty with a final RPI of 48, the Illini (34-19) snared a berth in the Lexington Regional along with host Kentucky, Western Michigan and Indiana State.

It will be a rematch — a rubber game even — in the opening round with the Sycamores. Illinois and Indiana State played twice in the regular season. The Sycamores won 7-6 on March 12 in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Illini won 21-11 in seven innings on April 30 in Champaign.

This year marks Illinois' 13th NCAA tournament appearance in program history with the last coming in 2019. The Illini are 17-23 all-time in NCAA tournament games. Illinois last advanced to a super regional in 2015.

Illinois won the Big Ten regular season title after going 18-6 in conference play. The Illini started the season 5-10 before winning 28 of their next 35 games. That run included wins against NCAA tournament teams in Indiana (twice) and Indiana State.