Illini Sweep DH over HBU, UTA for Six Straight Wins

Justin Parr finished the day 6-for-9 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Justin Parr finished the day 6-for-9 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

March 2, 2013

HBU Box Score | UTA Box Score | Printable HBU Box | Printable UTA Box

ARLINGTON, Texas - Illinois never trailed on Saturday at Clay Gould Ballpark, as the Illini earned their sixth-straight win and swept the doubleheader with a 12-3 defeat of Houston Baptist and a 7-3 victory over Texas-Arlington. After starting the year 1-3, Illinois has improved to 7-3 overall and trailed for just three innings during its six-game winning streak, which is the Illini's longest since rolling off eight in a row on their way to the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2011.

"It was a very good afternoon for us," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Our guys played extremely well in all phases of the game. I was very proud of the way we responded in every situation to get two good team victories by doing the little things right. We have played a lot of different players during this streak and have had very good team chemistry with everyone continuing to support each other."

Freshman Nick Blackburn and senior Kevin Johnson each won their second game of the season after both pitched 6.2 quality innings. Both Parr brothers extended their hitting streaks to 10 games after collecting multiple hits in each game, with Justin going 6-for-9 with three runs and four RBI and Jordan finishing 4-for-7 with his second home run of the year along with three runs and six RBI on the day. Justin currently leads the Illini with a .523 average (23-for-44), while Jordan is second on the team at .400 (16-for-40).

Game 1 Recap // Illinois 12, Houston Baptist 3 | Coach Hartleb Interview | Lindauer Interview
Junior Thomas Lindauer belted his first career home run and finished 3-for-3 with three RBI to lead Illinois to a 12-3 win over Houston Baptist (5-5-1). Freshman Nick Blackburn notched his second win of the year, tossing 6.2 innings and allowing two runs. The Illini continued to come through with two outs, hitting .500 (6-for-12) for the second-straight game and collecting eight RBI.

"Our guys did a good job getting two-out hits and breaking it open early," Hartleb said. "We were patient at the plate and then got hits behind those walks to score some runs. Thomas has been very good at driving in runs and moving runners and continued to do that today. Nick also got us deep into the game and did a very nice job."

After getting on the board with an RBI single by Lindauer in the second, the Illini scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. On a full count, sophomore David Kerian doubled down the left field line and scored Justin Parr easily from first. After a walk to Lindauer, senior Brandon Hohl doubled to right center and added two more runs to the scoreboard as Kerian and Lindauer motored home.

Illinois broke it open in the fifth inning, scoring five runs with two outs. With runners on second and third, Jordan Parr singled up the middle and knocked in sophomores Michael Hurwitz and Will Krug. On the very next pitch, Kerian doubled home Jordan and advanced to third on an error by the right fielder. Three pitches later, Lindauer sent a shot over the left field wall for the second home run by an Illini this season, which gave Illinois a 9-0 advantage.

The Illini reached double digits with three more runs in the sixth inning, making it 12-0. Justin Parr scored senior Davis Hendrickson and freshman Adam Walton on the first triple by an Illini this season that found the gap in right center. Jordan brought his brother home on a sacrifice fly to left field to wrap up the Illini scoring.

Freshman Charlie Naso came on in relief in the seventh after Blackburn gave up a two-run double with two outs. Naso got the final out of the frame and pitched a scoreless eighth in his first appearance on the season. Sophomore Josh Ferry let in a run in the ninth before closing out the contest with a flyout.

The Illini reached double digits in runs for the third time this season and racked up 14 hits, marking their fifth game in double figures at the time. The five players in the heart of the lineup recorded multiple hits, led by Lindauer. Justin Parr went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, while Jordan Parr, Kerian and Hohl each finished 2-for-3. Jordan Parr tallied two runs and three RBI, Kerian chipped in two runs and two RBI, and Hohl netted the final two RBI.

Game 2 Recap // Illinois 7, Texas-Arlington 3 | Coach Hartleb Interview | Justin Parr Interview | Jordan Parr Interview
The Illini scored four quick runs and added two insurance runs on Jordan Parr's ninth inning home run in their 7-3 win over Texas-Arlington (5-4). Senior Kevin Johnson allowed no earned runs and struck out six while picking up his second win of the year in 6.2 innings of work. He also moved into ninth on the Illini all-time list with 182 career strikeouts. Justin Parr paced the offense with a 4-for-4 performance, which matched a career high and included a pair of doubles.

"We jumped on the board early and Kevin Johnson controlled the game," Hartleb said. "Kevin kept them off balance and attacked the zone all day. We got a lot of two-out hits again and Jordan came up with the big home run to widen the gap. It was a good team win."

Illinois established an early 4-0 lead after scoring a pair of runs in each of the first two innings. Hurwitz singled through the right side to knock in Krug and crossed home plate on a triple to right center by Jordan Parr in the first inning. In the second inning, Krug and redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper scored on a two-out double to left center by Justin Parr.

A sacrifice fly by Kerian brought home Hurwitz to make it 5-0 after five innings. In the sixth inning, the Mavericks scored a pair of unearned runs, cutting it to a 5-2 Illini advantage. Johnson knocked down a hard-hit liner but threw the ball wide of first allowing a run to score and also gave up a sacrifice fly.

Freshman Tyler Jay relieved Johnson with two outs in the seventh and got a ground ball to Lindauer for the final out of the inning. The Lemont, Ill., native stayed on the mound for the eighth inning and held onto the three-run lead.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Jordan Parr increased the Illini lead to 7-2 with a two-run bomb over the left field wall. Junior Ronnie Muck gave up a run on an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth before retiring the final three UTA hitters.

Up Next: Illinois will wrap up the UTA/Hilton Invitational with its final game against Texas-Arlington at 11 a.m. Sophomore John Kravetz will take the hill against UTA's Brad Vachon.