Kravetz Shines as Illini Win 7-2 over Huskies

Davis Hendrickson went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and two runs in Illinois' 7-2 win over NIU.
Davis Hendrickson went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and two runs in Illinois' 7-2 win over NIU.

March 17, 2012

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CARBONDALE, Ill. - Freshman John Kravetz pitched eight strong innings and six Illinois players recorded multiple hits to lift the Illini to their third-straight win with a 7-2 victory over Northern Illinois at Abe Martin Field on Saturday. Kravetz allowed two runs on five hits while striking out four to give Illinois its fifth win in its last six games and eighth in the last 10 games.

"We jumped out in the first inning and set the tone by putting a run on the board, then John Kravetz went out and was very sharp early in the game," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Our offense did a great job of extending the lead and I thought we played extremely hard with good energy today. I was pleased with our all-around team effort. Bill Charvat came up with a big hit to widen the gap in the fifth inning and we had a number of guys with multiple hits. I was impressed with our offensive performance today."

Illinois jumped on top early, as shortstop Thomas Lindauer beat out an infield hit to start the game. He was in motion as center fielder Willie Argo grounded out to shortstop and took third on the play, then scored on left fielder Justin Parr's base hit through the right side for a quick 1-0 lead.

Illini starter John Kravetz was in control off the bat, retiring the first 10 hitters he faced in the game before giving up a base hit through the middle in the bottom of the fourth. After a hit batter put men on first and second, Kravetz induced a foul-out to first baseman Jordan Parr to keep the Huskies off the board.

The Orange and Blue added two more runs in the fifth when second baseman Reid Roper led off with a base hit past the glove of the first baseman and moved to second when Parr grounded out to third. Davis Hendrickson beat out an infield hit, pushing Roper to third, and stole second. DH Bill Charvat followed by smoking a double to right-center that plated both runners, but Charvat was thrown out on a close play at third, trying to stretch it to a triple, but the Illini increased their margin to 3-0.

Kravetz regained his composure in the fifth, retiring the Huskies in order, then worked out of a jam in the sixth. He gave up a leadoff infield hit on a ball that took a wicked hop just before Roper fielded it and hit a batter on a 3-2 count to put men on first and second. But Kravetz struck out the next hitter and induced consecutive fly-outs to keep NIU scoreless.

Illinois finally broke the game open in the seventh when Roper led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on Parr's groundout. Hendrickson singled through the right side, moving Roper to third, and stole second. On that play, the catcher's throw went into center field and Roper was able to score. Charvat then drove home Hendrickson with a base hit to center and moved to second when the center fielder's throw to the plate got past the catcher. After an out, Lindauer legged out an infield hit and Argo smoked a double down the left-field line to drive in both runners, pushing the lead to 7-0.

Kravetz worked around a one-out error in the seventh and got a pair of quick outs to start the eighth before running into trouble. He gave up a base hit through the left side on a hard-hit ball that scooted past Brandon Hohl's outstretched glove, then surrendered an RBI triple to right field. A base hit up the middle drove home another run, but he kept his cool and induced a foul-out to new first baseman Thomas Shelton for the final out.

Redshirt-freshman Drasen Johnson came on to pitch the ninth inning and retired the first two hitters he faced when Hendrickson made a spectacular diving catch down the right-field line and Lincoln fielded a bunt in front of the place and threw out the batter. He gave up a base hit to right-center and walked a batter, though, then the runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. But Johnson struck out the next hitter to finish the 7-2 victory.

Kravetz was excellent in his fourth career start, allowing only two runs on five hits in eight innings, his longest outing to this point. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter, throwing only 95 pitches, 66 for strikes. Johnson worked a scoreless ninth inning.

Offensively, Justin Parr led the attack, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and two walks, reaching base five times. Charvat was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run, and Hendrickson went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and two runs. Lincoln went 3-for-4 and stole a base, his first career multiple-hit game, and Lindauer was 2-for-5 with two runs. Roper went 2-for-3 with two runs and Argo drove in two with a double on a 1-for-4 day.

The Illini face Northern Illinois again on Sunday, with first pitch at 11 a.m. Junior right-hander Matt Milroy will start against the Huskies, who will counter with junior right-hander Taylor Nawrocki. Illinois wraps up the weekend trip with a 2:30 p.m. start against Southern Illinois, with freshman right-hander Josh Ferry making his first career start. SIU will give the ball to junior left-hander Nathan Dorris.