Johnson's Strong Outing Not Enough at WKU, 1-0
March 9, 2014
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Starter Drasen Johnson threw seven straight scoreless innings before allowing the only run of the game on a two-out RBI double in the eighth. Illinois (6-7) only managed four hits in a 1-0 loss to Western Kentucky (10-5) in the series finale on Sunday. The Illini were shut out in their shortest game of the year, lasting one hour and 58 minutes.
"Drasen gave us a great performance," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He competed very well and deserved to win. From an offensive standpoint, we didn't do a good job. We struck out too many times and didn't swing at strikes. It was another weekend where we didn't put all three aspects together. There were times in games that we showed signs of being a good club, but until we do that on a regular basis, it's tough to get over .500 and on a winning streak."
The game's lone run came in the bottom of the eighth. David Simmons walked with one out, stole second with two outs and scored on a double down the left field line by Scott Wilcox.
Johnson scattered seven hits, struck out three and walked two in a career-high eight innings. He fell to 2-1 on the year despite the complete-game effort.
Illinois only had hits in two innings, the second and the ninth. Their first opportunity came in the second inning with back-to-back one-out singles by sophomores Jason Goldstein and Ryan Nagle. A fielder's choice and an error placed runners in scoring position, but a groundout ended the threat.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, redshirt-junior Reid Roper kept the game alive with an infield single followed by a single through the right side by Goldstein. Illinois' 10th strikeout ended the rally and the game.
The Illini defense saved a run in the bottom of the fourth with a rare 8-2-5 inning-ending double play. With one out and runners on first and second, WKU sent a single up the middle. Krug fielded it cleanly and fired a bullet home, where Goldstein applied the tag in time and threw down to third for the third out of the inning.
Illinois was swept in a series for the first time since 2012. The offense struggled with a .245 average and only six runs in the three games at Nick Denes Field. The pitching staff sported a 3.38 ERA on the weekend but did not come away with a win.
Up Next: Illinois will head to Carbondale, Ill., for a three-game series against Southern Illinois from March 14-16.