Sophomore David Kerian had a career day, going 4-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and a run in Illinois' 11-6 win over Ohio.
Feb. 22, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Sophomore David Kerian reached base all five times he stepped to the plate, going a career-best 4-for-4 with a walk and two RBI to lead Illinois (2-3) to an 11-6 victory over Ohio (0-3). Kerian was one of five Illini to record multiple hits on a day that Illinois scored in six of eight innings and matched its season high with 16 hits. Freshman Kevin Duchene earned his first career victory, ending the Illini's three-game losing skid.
"It was nice to go out to the ballpark and find a way to win," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We did a lot of good things today and even though we weren't as sharp as I would have liked us to be, we still found a way to win. The difference in the game was Ronnie Muck coming in during a crucial situation to get a key strikeout."
A four-run sixth inning by Ohio got the Bobcats back within three at 8-5, but a strikeout by junior Ronnie Muck allowed the Illini to escape any further damage. After a leadoff groundout, four-consecutive hits, including an RBI single, forced a pitching change. Duchene was replaced by sophomore Josh Ferry, who allowed in three runs on a sacrifice fly and back-to-back bases-loaded walks. Hartleb went to the bullpen again and brought in Muck, who struck out Scott White looking on three pitches.
"We had a pretty good cushion going into that inning, but then we had some things get away from us on the mound," Hartleb said. "Ronnie came in without being 100 percent loose and was very mentally tough. He threw three great pitches and that was the turning point of the game. Our bullpen was able to hold them down the rest of the day."
The Illini had every starter reach base in a lineup featuring a pair of changes on Friday at the Keith LeClair Classic. Sophomore Will Krug started for the first time this season in right field and went a career-best 3-for-5 with two runs and a walk at the top of the order. Freshman Adam Walton started at second base for the first time and produced his first run, hit and RBI as an Illini.
"A couple of guys got their first starts of the year in Will and Adam," Hartleb said. "They did a very good job and came up with some key hits for us."
Illinois grabbed an early 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning with two outs. The Illini put the Parr brothers on first and third after Justin walked, moved up on a single by Jordan and stole third. Kerian knocked in the first run on a single to left field, which again put runners on the corners. Jordan Parr then stole home on a pickoff attempt at first base, marking his team-high fifth stolen base of the year.
Ohio cut the Illini lead in half in the top of the third after scoring a run following three-straight singles. Duchene limited the damage by getting a caught stealing and a strikeout to end the stanza. In the bottom of the third, Illinois loaded the bases thanks to a walk and back-to-back infield singles. After a strikeout, a walk to freshman Jason Goldstein forced home Jordan Parr to make it 3-1.
The Illini posted two more runs with two outs in the fourth inning, increasing their lead to 5-1 over the Bobcats. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz led off the frame with a single and scored on a double down the left-field line by Kerian. Junior Thomas Lindauer knocked in Kerian on a single through the left side but was thrown out trying to advance to second.
The Orange and Blue broke it open in the fifth inning, as they tacked on three more runs to go up 8-1. Senior Brandon Hohl scored on an RBI single by Walton, who eventually scored from third on a wild pitch. Hurwitz rounded out the scoring with an RBI single up the middle that plated Krug.
Illinois added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to stay in front 10-5. Jordan Parr scored from second on a botched double play attempt, and Lindauer crossed home plate on a double to left center by Hohl.
The scoring wrapped up in the seventh inning, as Ohio notched a run off reliever Drasen Johnson before the Illini got it back with an RBI single by Justin Parr that made it 11-6. Sophomore Anthony Milazzo closed out the contest, needing just 20 pitches to finish up the final two innings while only allowing one hit.
Kerian, who entered the game with seven career hits, started his third-straight game at first base and is now 6-for-12 on the season. Hurwitz, Hohl and Lindauer each had two hits on the day, while Jordan Parr led the squad with three runs scored. The Illini also reached double digits in walks for the first time this year with 10.
Illinois will next play on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT against New Mexico State. The game time could change due to potential inclement weather in the area, so stay tuned to www.fightingillini.com and @IlliniBaseball on Twitter for updates.