Illini Drop Second Game at Western Kentucky, 5-3
March 8, 2014
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Illinois (6-6) fell for the second time on Saturday, suffering a 5-3 loss to Western Kentucky (9-5) in game two of the doubleheader at Nick Denes Field. Junior David Kerian hit a go-ahead two-run homer as part of a three-run third, but the Hilltoppers scored a run in the fifth, sixth and eighth to steal the nightcap.
"They were close games today, but we got outplayed in every aspect in both games," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "They did a much better job out of the bullpen and their pitchers were more effective. They had quality pitches in tight situations and came up with key hits. We didn't do a good job defensively either. When you play a good team and get outplayed in every aspect, you aren't going to win."
Western Kentucky jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs on a two-out double down the left-field line. The Hilltoppers loaded the bases in the opening frame, but junior starter John Kravetz escaped without any further damage.
The Illini took a 3-2 lead with three runs in the third. Junior Michael Hurwitz put the Orange and Blue on the board with a sac fly that plated redshirt-junior Kelly Norris-Jones. With two outs and redshirt-freshman Zack Kolakowski on second, Kerian crushed a homer over the right field, marking his second career bomb and first home run that has left the yard. His first career four-bagger was an inside-the-park home run last season.
WKU tied it at three with an RBI single off Kravetz in the fifth and retook a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Freshman Cody Sedlock replaced Kravetz on the mound and ended the fifth with a strikeout, leaving runners in scoring position. The Hilltoppers smacked a leadoff double in the sixth, executed a sac bunt and drove in the go-ahead run on a single to left.
The Hilltoppers added an insurance run in the eighth to go up 5-3, while the Illini went down in order in the ninth. Kravetz allowed three runs in 4.2 innings and received a no decision, while Sedlock took his first loss with two runs (one earned) in 3.1 innings of relief.
Up Next: Illinois will face Western Kentucky in the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. Redshirt-junior Drasen Johnson will go up against Jake Thompson on the mound.