Illinois Wins Third Straight with 5-2 Victory over BC
Feb. 24, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Illinois' first three batters combined to score all five runs on Sunday, as the Illini (4-3) won their third game in a row with a 5-2 victory over Boston College (1-5). Freshman Nick Blackburn provided a quality start to earn his first career win in the final game of the Keith LeClair Classic. The Naperville, Ill., native exited the game in the seventh after allowing one unearned run, scattering five hits and striking out five over 6.2 innings.
"The pitching was the difference today," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Nick Blackburn gave us a really, really good start. He controlled the game and minimized a rough inning by only giving up one run and getting a double play ball. I also felt really good about our bullpen. We got multiple guys in the game, and they all did a nice job."
After falling behind 1-0 in the second, the Illini took a 3-1 lead thanks to hustle plays and two-out hitting in the fifth. Two flyouts began the inning before sophomore Will Krug beat out a bunt single to third, stole second on a pickoff attempt and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz kept the inning alive by sliding into first base to inch out an infield single to third that scored Krug.
"Mike did a really good job with that hustle play," Hartleb said. "He kept the inning alive and made another smart baseball play when he was caught in a run down."
Hurwitz advanced to second when interference was called during a pickoff run-down and motored home on a single up the middle by senior Justin Parr. Parr stole second and crossed the plate on a single to left field by sophomore David Kerian.
"We found a way to score a couple of tough runs and then added on to it late," Hartleb said. "Will Krug and Mike Hurwitz did a great job getting on base all day. They were outstanding."
Illinois cushioned its lead with two more runs in the seventh to make it 5-1. The top of the order continued its productive day by loading the bases to start the inning, and redshirt-junior Jordan Parr singled home Krug and Hurwitz on a liner to center.
The Eagles got a run back in the eighth, but junior Ronnie Muck notched a bases-loaded strikeout to escape the jam and keep the Illini ahead 5-2. Muck stayed on the mound and pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his first save of the season.
Illinois' top of the lineup recorded six of the squad's eight hits, led by Krug's 3-for-4 day. Hurwitz went 1-for-1 with three walks, while Justin Parr had his sixth multi-hit game by finishing 2-for-4.
The Illini finished the weekend 3-1 at Clark-LeClair Stadium and hit .300 overall at the tournament. Kerian led the squad with a .571 average (8-of-14), while Justin Parr and Krug each hit at a .438 clip (7-for-16). Two freshmen pitchers earned their first career victories in Blackburn and Kevin Duchene.
"We are a much better team today than we were last weekend," Hartleb said. "I was proud of the way our guys battled back and kept their composure to get us back over .500. We have done a good job as a team of staying together and not panicking."
Up Next: Illinois will head to Arlington, Texas, for the UTA/Hilton Invitational, where they will face Houston Baptist and UT-Arlington twice each.