Baseball building off NCAA tourney run

Published 01/27 2014 05:17PM

Updated 01/27 2014 06:41PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois baseball season is only a couple weeks away from getting started, but practice is already in full swing under head coach Dan Hartleb.  Illinois is hoping to pick up where they left off after their NCAA tournament run last season.

"It's nice to get started again," Hartleb said.  "Our guys have done a good job working in the offseason, and this is a time where we have an opportunity to get into our team practices and prepare for our first game."

The Illini bring back their entire postseason starting rotation, led by sophomore Kevin Duchene.  They also return about half of their starting position players, including second baseman/pitcher Reid Roper.

"Bringing back some key guys, we have some pitching depth," said Roper.  "We have some young guys that are going to step up and fill some key roles for us.  Once we get going, I think everything will come together."

Illinois opens the season February 14-16 with a series against Georgia State in Atlanta, Ga.

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