Big Ten standout Jack Yalowitz having a ball: After a successful season a year ago, University of Illinois junior outfielder Jack Yalowitz (Class of 2015) is off to a slow start.

Batting No. 3 in the lineup, the left-handed Yalowitz is hitting .195 with an on-base percentage of .284 and a slugging percentage of .329. He has two home runs and 14 RBIs for the Illini (16-5, 3-0 Big Ten). Illinois is ranked 25th by

But he’s not worried about his game.

“Obviously, my season hasn’t gone the way I have liked individually, but we are winning games, and that is what’s important,” said Yalowitz, a Chicago native who attended O.A. Thorpe elementary school on the Northwest Side. “Sometimes, you find some barrels that don’t land. That’s baseball. There is nothing wrong. I know I have a team behind me, so I’m going out there and having fun.”

On Sunday, Yalowitz hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning in Illinois’ 4-2 win over Northwestern in Evanston.

“Absolutely, that’s something that could spark me,” he said. “Hitting is contagious. That could push me in the right direction.”

Ever since arriving at Illinois, Yalowitz said he’s been driven by proving he belongs.

As a freshman, Yalowitz earned a starting spot from the outset and established himself as an everyday player. At the plate, he batted .227 with an on-base percentage of .351.

Yalowitz made a name for himself in his second season and was selected to the all-Big Ten team. He hit .335 with an on-base percentage of .409 and a slugging percentage of .590. He had 12 homers, 44 RBIs and scored 42 runs. Yalowitz finished in the top 10 in the conference in seven offensive categories.

“I think some people looked at me as someone who should have gone to a smaller school, but I knew I was capable of playing in the Big Ten,” he said. “I took a chance on myself.”

Yalowitz said he already is contemplating a career as a professional baseball player. He’s eligible to be drafted in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft in June.

“That’s been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” he said. “But for now, I am focused on helping our team win. I will continue to stick to the process and enjoy playing baseball. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Isabelle Kane on closing stretch of college career: One of best to ever tee it up at Loyola, Kane (Class of 2014) will conclude her career at Dartmouth in less than a month when the Big Green play at the Ivy League Championships April 20-22 at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson, New Jersey.

A contributor since freshman season, Kane has played in three tournaments as a senior and carries a 79.0 stroke average. Her best finish was a tie for 16th at Princeton’s invitational Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Dartmouth plays at Fairleigh Dickinson’s Checkmate Challenge Friday through Sunday at Seaview Golf Resort in Galloway, New Jersey.

Last season, Kane posted two top-20 finishes and finished with a stroke average of 79.1. As a sophomore, the highlight was when she finished fourth at Dartmouth’s tournament with rounds of 74-74. Kane played in 10 events as a freshman and recorded two top-20 finishes, including a tie for ninth.

At Loyola, Kane was a three-time state medalist. As a senior, the Winnetka resident tied for second at the 2013 Class AA state tournament after finishing first at both the regional and sectional tournaments. The Ramblers took second as a team that season.

Photo credit: Illinois Athletics