Illini Beat Connecticut, Fall to #22 Oregon State

Freshman John Kravetz posted a quality start, limiting Connecticut to one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Freshman John Kravetz posted a quality start, limiting Connecticut to one run in 7 2/3 innings.

March 10, 2012

Game 1: Box Score | Printable Box Score
Game 2: Box Score | Printable Box Score

Coach Hartleb Interview | Kravetz Interview

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Freshman John Kravetz held Connecticut to one run over 7 2/3 innings as Illinois took a 5-1 win but No. 22 Oregon State took advantage of seven walks and four hit batters by Illini pitchers to take an 8-2 victory in the second game of the day as the Orange and Blue split a doubleheader in the Nike College Showcase at Goss Stadium on Saturday. Kravetz struck out six in the opener and Justin Parr drove in three, but the Illini had trouble stringing hits together in the nightcap as they fell to 6-6 on the season.

"I was very pleased in the first game, " Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "John Kravetz went out and threw a lot of good pitches, kept them off-balance, and I thought he got stronger as the game went on. We did a great job offensively, scoring four runs with two outs, and from that point on, John was very, very effective.

"The second game was a little bit different story. We didn't get good starting pitching and we struck out too many times on balls out of the strike zone. Give credit to their pitcher, but we have to make adjustments. But it's a learning experience and I expect us to jump back tomorrow, be ready to go and get out of here 3-1 (on the weekend)."

Kravetz got into a jam right off the bat in the bottom of the first after a leadoff bunt single and a one-out base hit put men on first and second. But Kravetz coaxed a fly-out to right fielder Davis Hendrickson and a grounder to second baseman Reid Roper, who flipped to shortstop Thomas Lindauer for the third out to keep the Huskies off the board.

UConn threatened again in the second with a pair of one-out singles. But Kravetz coaxed a pop-up to Roper two steps on the outfield grass and Lindauer made a diving stop up the middle to rob left fielder Eric Yavaone of an RBI single before flipping to Roper at second for the final out of the frame.

The Illini got on the board with a four-run third inning that happened after two were out. With two down, DH Bill Charvat ripped a base hit through the right side and stole second, his first career steal. Shortstop Thomas Lindauer then yanked a full-count pitch down the line past the third baseman for an RBI triple. Center fielder Willie Argo won a nine-pitch battle with UConn starter Pat Butler when he was hit with a pitch and, after a quick mound conference, left fielder Justin Parr punished the first pitch he saw, blasting it over the center fielder's head for a two-run triple. He scored two pitches later on a passed ball, giving the Illini a 4-0 lead.

Kravetz pitched out of a jam once again in the third after a leadoff walk and a one-out hit-and-run single put runners on the corners. But the freshman right-hander coaxed a liner to right fielder Davis Hendrickson off the bat of UConn shortstop Tom Verdi and Hendrickson doubled the runner off first for an inning-ending double play.

In the fourth, first baseman Jordan Parr extended his team-leading hitting streak to 11 games with a one-out base hit and stole second. But he was stranded there after a pair of groundouts ended the inning. In the bottom half, Kravetz gave up a one-out double but induced a groundout to Lindauer and struck out a batter to keep the Huskies off the board.

Lindauer ripped a one-out single through the left in the fifth and moved to second on a balk. After Argo walked, the Huskies brought in reliever Ted Hurvul and Lindauer was caught stealing third. Argo moved up to second on the play and scored when Justin Parr poked a single to left, pushing the lead to 5-0.

Kravetz came out dealing in the bottom of the fifth, striking out the first two hitters before making a low throw to first on a bunt to the left of the mound. The play went as an error but Kravetz bounced back by striking out the next hitter - meaning he struck out the side - and throwing 12 consecutive strikes in the inning before he threw a ball.

In the sixth, Kravetz worked a quick frame, striking out the first hitter, inducing a pop-up to Hohl and inducing a fly-out to Justin Parr, requiring only 10 pitches. He kept cruising in the seventh, retiring the Huskies in order once again. He also sat down the first hitter in the eighth inning, giving Kravetz eight consecutive hitters retired and 12 of 13 from the fourth to the eighth innings. He hit a batter and gave up an RBI double in the eighth as UConn got on the board, but battled back to induced a groundout to second. Drasen Johnson relieved Kravetz and Johnson coaxed a fly-out to Hendrickson in right-center to strand the runner and keep the Illini lead at 5-1.

In the ninth, Johnson got the DH Tim Martin to ground out to Roper for the first out before giving up a first-pitch single to third baseman Mike Friel. But he induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of center fielder Billy Ferriter to cap Illinois' 5-1 victory.

Kravetz was incredible, holding Connecticut to only one run on seven hits and one walk over 7 2/3 innings, striking out six. Johnson allowed only one hit over 1 1/3 innings to close out the win.

Justin Parr keyed the Illini offense in the first game, going 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and a run, while Jordan Parr went 3-for-4 with a stolen base. Lindauer also contributed two hits, going 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run.

In the nightcap, Illinois starter Matt Milroy got into trouble right off the bat, walking the first two OSU hitters. He induced a 6-4-3 double play and struck out the next hitter, though, to dance out of the jam. After the Illini went down in order in the bottom half, Milroy hit the first two hitters in the second inning and gave up a sacrifice bunt. He walked the next hitter to load the bases and gave up a two-run single to right-center. He coaxed a grounder to Roper at second, who flipped to Lindauer for the second out, but the next batter was hit by a pitch and Milroy walked the next hitter to load the bases before hitting DH Michael Conforto to force in a run. Josh Ferry came on in relief of Milroy and gave up a bases-clearing line-drive double that just got past Lindauer's glove and skipped into the gap in left-center by Dylan Davis before Ferry coaxed a fly-out to Willie Argo in center field as OSU took a 6-0 lead.

Ferry continued to work into the third and got a pair of quick outs before giving up a double to left. But the freshman kept his composure and induced a fly-out to Argo for the third out. In the bottom half, Charvat singled to right with one out and stole second. After another out, Argo drove him in with a base hit to left, cutting OSU's lead to 6-1.

Ferry worked quickly in the fourth, needing only nine pitches to retire the side, which he punctuated with a strikeout to end the frame. In the fifth, Ferry gave up a one-out single and the runner moved to second when Ferry's pickoff attempt went off Jordan Parr's glove. But he worked around it, coaxing a pair of fly-outs to end the frame and keep OSU off the board.

Charvat lined a two-out single through the right side in the bottom of the fifth but he was stranded there. In the sixth, Oregon State added two runs on a pair of hits, a hit batter and an error. With one out, Ferry hit a batter and gave up a base hit to left-center. The next batter reached when Hendrickson dropped a fly ball in right and tried to throw the runner out at second, but his throw was offline. The next batter drove in two runs with a base hit through the right side before Ferry coaxed two more fly balls to right to retire the side as OSU took an 8-1 lead.

The Illini got a two-out hit from Hendrickson in the seventh but he was stranded there. Freshman Anthony Milazzo posted a perfect inning of relief in the eighth but OSU starter Dan Child struck out the Illini side in the bottom half of the inning. In the ninth, senior Brian de la Torriente gave up a one-out double but coaxed a pair of pop-ups to Lindauer to notch a scoreless frame.

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Michael Hurwitz drew a one-out walk and pinch hitter David Kerian singled through the right side. One out later, Hendrickson pulled a single to right field that drove in Hurwitz, but Ryan Arrick flew out to right to end the game with Oregon State taking an 8-2 victory.

In the second game, Charvat went 2-for-2 with a run, and Hendrickson was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ferry was solid out of the pen, allowing two runs - one earned - over 5 1/3 innings of relief, giving up five hits and not allowing a walk while striking out one. Milazzo tossed a perfect eighth and de la Torriente pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up one hit.

On the day, Jordan Parr went 4-for-7 (.571), and Charvat was 3-for-5 (.600) with two runs. Justin Parr went 2-for-7 (.286) with a triple, three RBIs and a run.

The Illini finish their appearance in the Nike College Showcase by taking on West Virginia at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday, with senior Nick Chmielewski getting the start for Illinois.