Pair of Homers Leads Illini to 9-5 Win Over WKU
March 12, 2011
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Illinois used a pair of three-run home runs from catcher Adam Davis and shortstop Josh Parr to power past Western Kentucky, 9-2, at Nick Denes Field on Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak. Starting pitcher John Anderson posted his third-straight quality start of the season, allowing only two runs over six innings, to help the Illini improve to 4-7 on the season.
"That's the type of game that I think we're capable of playing on a regular basis," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Willie (Argo) smoked the first pitch he saw to the left-field fence (in the first inning) and it seemed like everybody relaxed. John Anderson pitched very well, even in the inning that he gave up a couple of runs. The biggest thing was that we got guys on base, strung hits together and our pitching staff went out and put up zeroes the next inning. I think we showed what we can do today, now we have to be consistent with it."
The Illini jumped on top first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Center fielder Willie Argo started the game with a first-pitch double and he moved to third on a groundout by left fielder Casey McMurray. Davis drove him in with a single to center, putting the Illini up 1-0.
Anderson worked a 1-2-3 inning in the first, needing only nine pitches to retire the side. He used a 6-4-3 double play to work around a one-out single in the second, but ran into trouble in the third. After a leadoff walk, Anderson gave up a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third. WKU center fielder Jared Andreoli drove in a run with a base hit and Anderson recorded the second out on a popped-up bunt to Davis. But Topper catcher Matt Rice plated another run with a base hit to left before Anderson got out of the inning with a groundout, pushing WKU up 2-1.
But the senior from Mt. Vernon, Ill., recovered to retire the Toppers in order in the fourth and fifth to give the Illini bats a chance to get going. And they did in the sixth inning when Parr legged out an infield hit and McMurray reached on an error. Davis then blasted a 1-2 pitch to left field for a three-run home run to put the Illini on top, 4-2.
Anderson got out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth after allowing a one-out single. The next batter reached on an error and a grounder left runners on the corners. The runner from first stole second but Anderson induced a groundout to Parr to end the inning.
The Illini offense went back to it in the seventh when DH Bill Charvat led off with a base hit and right fielder Davis Hendrickson singled. Argo followed with an RBI double and Parr blasted a three-run homer to left on a 3-2 count to increase Illinois' lead to 8-2.
Chris Pack relieved Anderson in the bottom of the seventh and issued a leadoff walk, but struck out the next batter and induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Illini looked to extend their lead even more in the eighth when Charvat drew a leadoff walk and Hendrickson singled, but Argo flew out and Parr hit into an inning-ending double play.
Pack retired the Toppers in order in the bottom of the eighth and the Illini tacked on another run in the ninth. McMurray led off with a double and Pete Cappetta pinch ran for him. Cappetta moved up a base on Davis' fly-out and scored on first baseman Matt Dittman's sacrifice fly, giving the Illini a 9-2 lead.
But WKU wouldn't go quietly, as Pack hit the first batter in the ninth and walked the second. He fanned the next hitter and coaxed a fly-out, but gave up an RBI single, hit another batter and surrendered a two-run single before inducing a fly-out to Argo to end the game with Illinois on top, 9-5.
Davis led the Illini, going 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs, and Parr was 2-for-5 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs. Argo went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs, and Hendrickson was 2-for-4 with a run. McMurray also got in on the multiple-hit act, going 2-for-5 with a double and a run.