Closing In: Gerber nearing Illini saves record

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- The Illini single season saves leader, Tyler Jay, is enjoying life in Double-A ball with a 1.69 ERA through 10.2 innings but his Illini saves record is in serious jeopardy.

"Honestly, I don't think about that because we got so much other stuff going on," Illinois pitcher Joey Gerber said.

Between Bren Spillane's numbers and Ben Troike's on base streak, Joey Gerber's season somewhat gets pushed aside, but it shouldn't. Gerber is a perfect 13 for 13 in save opportunities this season, one shy of Jay's single season record of 14.
"Well he's got great velocity," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He touches 97, he's consistently 92-95. (He) has a little bit of a funky delivery and so a little bit difficult to catch up to the fastball, kind of jumps on you a little bit. Then he's developed a very good slider. He's a strike thrower."

"Honestly, just get your job done," Gerber said of his role. "I mean you got like one inning to go out there so I mean you should just have a pretty smooth inning, you know. If you're a closer you should have the right, like your stuff should be there or whatever so it shouldn't be that hard of a job really."

Gerber's unique delivery isn't pretty but it gets the job done. MLB scouts regularly move into position behind home plate with their radar guns once Gerber gets the call from the bullpen.

"It's fun you know to like get an opportunity to like show yourself to major league teams, that's like a dream you know," said Gerber. "I mean it's fun. I like just really enjoy it. "

Gerber has at least five more games to get that one save to tie the record, or two to claim it as his own. Illinois hosts Nebraska in the final series of the regular season, starting Thursday night at 6 p.m.

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