Illini Stage Comeback Over Cajuns
March 10, 2006
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Ryan Snowden and Lars Davis both had their first three-hit games at Illinois and the Illini bounced back from an 8-0 deficit to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 14-12. Davis drove in two runs, Snowden scored a pair, and Joe Bonadonna had the game-winning hit in the eighth inning, cracking a two-out double to left-center and driving in Snowden and Mike Rohde.
"I am so proud of our guys that they didn't quit," Illini coach Dan Hartleb said. "The first four innings we weren't getting any breaks, but we didn't panic at the plate and swing at bad pitches. Their pitchers were never comfortable in any situation and our hitters never let them off the hook."
The Illini fell behind early as the Ragin' Cajuns tagged Illinois starter Omar Kadir for three runs in the second inning. UL chased Kadir with a triple, two doubles and a single in the third, and added two runs off Ben Reeser to take an 8-0 lead after four innings.
"Even though our pitchers were getting hit, they weren't shying away from throwing strikes," Hartleb said. "That's part of the game and you deal with that."
Illinois responded with four runs in the fifth after Trevor Huisinga singled, and Shawn Roof and Ryan Hastings walked to load the bases. Chase Kliment's sacrifice fly drove in Huisinga, and Roof scored on a wild pitch before third baseman Mike Rohde walked. A groundout gave the Illini runners at second and third, and Hastings scored on another wild pitch. Davis then notched his fifth two-out RBI of the season, driving in Rohde with a single to cut the UL margin to 8-4.
The Cajuns added two in the fifth and one more in the sixth before Illinois broke out with seven runs in the top of the seventh. Kliment led off with a double and Rohde followed with another double. Snowden walked and, one out later, first baseman Dave Schultz walked to load the bases. Bonadonna drew an RBI walk and Huisinga followed with another. Roof then singled up the middle to drive in Schultz and Bonadonna and give the Illini runners at the corners with one out. Roof then got into a rundown and Huisinga drew a throw home that was wild, allowing him to score and Roof to move to third. Roof scored on Hastings' sacrifice fly to tie the game at 11.
After a 1-2-3 inning by reliever Luke Obukowicz, Illinois added a pair in the eighth off two walks and two hits, including a two-run double by Bonadonna, to give the Illini their first lead, 13-11. It was Bonadonna's first double and first RBI at Illinois. UL's Tim Santiago responded with his second home run of the day, this time to left field, to cut the margin to 13-12 after eight innings.
Illinois added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Kliment singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Rohde walked, and one out later, Davis drove in Kliment with a base hit to left field to give the Illini a 14-12 lead. Reliever Matt Whitmore entered in the ninth inning and recorded his second save after allowing a pair of two-out hits.
Davis and Snowden were each 3-for-5, and Kliment went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. While the Illini allowed a season-high 20 hits, Illinois pitchers did not issue a walk while striking out three. ULL gave up 12 walks while striking out only four Illini. The Illini now face host Texas-San Antonio Saturday at 7 p.m.