2-Out Hitting Propels Illini to 13-2 Win over TTU
Feb. 15, 2013
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Illinois' offense exploded for 13 runs on 16 hits in its 13-2 season-opening victory over Tennessee Tech (0-1) on Friday evening. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr homered on his way to a 3-for-6 night with three RBI, while junior Thomas Lindauer knocked in the first three runs of the game. Senior Kevin Johnson struck out six Golden Eagles over six innings and allowed only one run to earn his first win of the season.
"I was very pleased with the first outing," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Defensively, we played very well and did not give up any cheap outs. Offensively, we were very aggressive, and the difference in the game today was we got a lot of two-out hits. We also took advantage of some of the mistakes they made and capitalized on their errors. We played all three aspects of the game very, very well."
Illinois (1-0) came through in the clutch at Bush Stadium at Averitt Express Baseball Complex, collecting five hits and eight RBI when faced with two outs. Four upperclassmen, both Parrs, Lindauer and senior Davis Hendrickson, accounted for all eight runs knocked in with two outs on the scoreboard. Eight different Illini recorded a hit and every starter reached base at least once. The 13 runs marks the most by an Illini squad in a season opener since 2000 when Illinois topped Texas Pan-American 25-5.
"We were solid up and down the lineup," Hartleb said. "Even the guys who didn't get RBIs or hits still moved runners to put the next guys in position to do so. I was very pleased with what we did from top to bottom."
Illinois' offensive onslaught began with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the second when Lindauer plated the first runs of the season for Illinois on a two-run bloop single to left field. The Moline, Ill., native put the Illini on the board again in the fourth inning which began a five-run rally.
The Illini's big fourth inning started on a back-to-back singles by senior Brandon Hohl and redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper. After a groundout moved both runners into scoring position, Lindauer doubled to left field and scored Hohl. After a strikeout and a walk, senior Justin Parr singled through the right side with two outs and scored Lindauer and Roper. Jordan Parr then ripped a single to right center and advanced to second on an error as both runners crossed home plate.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Orange and Blue posted six runs over the final four innings. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Jordan Parr hit a rocket over the left field wall for the first Illini home run of the season. With two outs in the top of the seventh, senior Davis Hendrickson doubled home freshman Jason Goldstein and Roper.
An RBI single by Hohl and a pinch-hit RBI groundout by redshirt-sophomore Kelly Norris-Jones gave Illinois two more runs in the eighth inning. Jordan Parr then had a solid ninth inning by knocking in the Illini's final run in the top half before gunning down a TTU baserunner at the plate for the final out of the game.
Johnson scattered nine hits over his six innings and only walked one. He was relieved by freshman Ryan Castellanos, who walked three and struck out three in his Illini debut. Freshman J.D. Nielsen took the ball in the eighth and gave up one run while striking out two before sophomore Josh Ferry finished off the contest in the ninth. The Illini staff allowed 11 hits, but left 12 Golden Eagle runners stranded.
"Kevin Johnson was a bit pumped up over the first couple innings and missed some locations, but battled through that and ended up giving us a great start," Hartleb said. "We then had some guys come in out of the bullpen and throw strikes. They were aggressive and gave us a good outing all the way around."
Illinois and Tennesee Tech will square off again on Saturday for game two of the series at 2 p.m. Freshman Kevin Duchene will take the ball for the Illini, while the Golden Eagles will send David Hess to the hill.