Freshman Kevin Duchene allowed zero earned runs over 8.2 innings and earned his second victory of the year.
March 1, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas - Freshman Kevin Duchene cruised through the Houston Baptist (4-4-1) lineup and came up one out shy of a complete game shutout, as the Illini topped the Huskies, 8-3, in the opening game of the UTA/Hilton Invitational. Illinois (5-3) earned its fourth-straight victory behind the excellent effort from the Joliet, Ill., native, who gave up zero earned runs over 8.2 quality innings for his second win of the year.
"Kevin did a great job for us today," Hartleb said. "It looked like he was feeling his way through the first couple innings, but then he settled down and got a lot of quick outs. He got stronger as the game went on and battled right up until the end. I've been pleased with the progress he has made, and he continues to get better with each outing."
The Illini held HBU scoreless through the first eight innings at Clay Gould Ballpark before the Huskies turned in three unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth. Duchene had two outs in the final frame and induced a chopper to the right side, but it was misplayed at first, which extended the inning and loaded the bases. After the southpaw walked in a run on a full count, he was relieved by redshirt-freshman Andrew Mamlic after throwing 114 pitches, including five walks and three strikeouts. Mamlic gave up a two-run single before recording the final out.
"I really wanted to get the complete game shutout which would have been two more milestones after my first win last week, but I am still happy that we got the win today," Duchene said. "When we got the big lead, I felt even more comfortable and just tried to throw strikes. Once I settled in, I was able to cruise through the second half of the game."
The game was Illinois' shortest of the season thus far, as they took care of HBU in two hours and seven minutes. Six different Illini scored runs and eight players combined for the team's 12 hits. The Illini also hit .500 (7-for-14) and tallied five RBI with two outs.
"Offensively, we did a good job from top to bottom in the order," Hartleb said. "I was happy to see our first five runs came with two outs. It showed that our guys don't give in once we make a couple outs. We also were very aggressive on the bases and at the plate."
Illinois grabbed an early 3-0 lead after a solid second inning. Junior Thomas Lindauer doubled to start the stanza, advanced to third on a groundout to the right side and scored on a sacrifice by senior Brandon Hohl. After two-straight singles and heads-up base running put runners on second and third, sophomore Michael Hurwitz knocked in freshman Jason Goldstein and sophomore Will Krug on a liner just over the top of the leaping shortstop's glove.
Following three scoreless frames, the Illini added two runs in the sixth to go ahead 5-0. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr doubled and scored on a single by Lindauer, who crossed the plate on a double by redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper.
The Orange and Blue tacked on three more runs in the seventh to seal the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Senior Justin Parr hit safely for the eighth game in a row to start the season and plated Goldstein on an RBI single. After a pitching change, Hurwitz scored on a wild pitch and Justin Parr scored on an infield single by Lindauer, who matched a career high with three hits and finished 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Jordan Parr extended his hitting streak to eight games with a pair of hits, while Hurwitz turned in his fourth multi-hit game of the year.
Up Next: Illinois will be back in action on Saturday for a pair of games. The Illini will play Houston Baptist again at 11 a.m. followed by a contest against host Texas-Arlington at 3 p.m. Freshman Nick Blackburn will square off against HBU's Brandon Hammerly, while senior Kevin Johnson will take the mound against UTA's John Beck.
Schedule Change for Next Weekend's Baylor Series
The University of Illinois baseball team announced a schedule change for next weekend's series at Baylor. Sunday's game will be moved to Saturday, meaning the Illini and Bears will now play a doubleheader on Saturday, March 9 with games at 2:05 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. The first game of the three-game series in Waco, Texas, will still be held on Friday, March 8 at 6:35 p.m.