Fletcher's 3 HR lift Illini past SIU

By Aaron Bennett | abennett@wcia.com

Published 04/30 2014 09:09PM

Updated 04/30 2014 10:41PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois junior Casey Fletcher had a career night, belting three home runs, to lead Illinois past SIU 10-1 Wednesday night at Illinois Field.  Fletcher entered the game with only one home run all season, but he left the yard in the third, sixth and seventh innings.  The Oakwood grad finished with a season-high five RBI.

"I'm just kind of taking it in right now," Fletcher said.  "I wasn't trying [to hit home runs].  I was just sticking with my approach, and I just put good swings on it.  I got pitches I could pull and just hit it out."

Fletcher's three home runs are one shy of Illinois' all-time record (Bubba Smith, 4).  He is the first Illinois player to hit three homers in a game since Willie Argo did it March 7, 2009 at No. 1 LSU.

2013 - Casey Fletcher vs. Southern Illinois (4/30/13)
2009 - Willie Argo at LSU (3/7/09)
2005 - Drew Davidson vs. Northwestern (5/8/05)
1998 - Kevin Rudden vs. Michigan (3/27/98)
1991 - Bubba Smith 4 HR vs. UIC (4/30/91)
1987 - Brad Wentz vs. Missouri (5/6/87 - DH Game 2)
1961 - Ernie Kumerow at Minnesota (5/13/61 - DH Game 1)

Wednesday night's win was the 268th of head coach Dan Hartleb's Illinois career, tying him with Tom Dedin for fourth place on the school's career wins list.  Hartleb will have a chance to move past Dedin Friday night at home against Michigan State.

1. Lee Eilbracht        518
2. Itch Jones            474
3. George Huff          314
T4. Dan Hartleb      268
T4. Tom Dedin          268

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