Illini Hold on for 11-9 Win Over Kansas
March 19, 2008
BRADENTON, Fla. - Illinois bounced back from an early deficit with 10 unanswered runs and held on late for an 11-9 win over Kansas at the IMG Academies. First baseman Ryan Hastings was 4-for-4 with a home run, a triple, three runs and two RBI, while center fielder Kyle Hudson, shortstop Brandon Wikoff and second baseman Joe Bonadonna each had two hits.
"We played a good team today and did a very, very good job against them offensively," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We had some big innings and took advantage of a few errors."
Illinois fell behind early when Kansas used two hits and a walk to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. But the Illini got on track in the second when Hastings led off with a single and, one out later, catcher Chris Montgomery singled to left-center. All three runners were safe when the Kansas shortstop mishandled a double-play turn on right fielder Craig Lutes' grounder, then second baseman Joe Bonadonna took advantage with a two-run single to left-center and centerfielder Kyle Hudson singled to right-center to reload the bases. Left fielder Casey McMurray then was hit by a pitch to force in a run, pushing Illinois ahead, 3-2.
After starter Kevin Manson worked an eight-pitch 1-2-3 inning in the second, Hastings led off with a home run that hooked just behind the foul pole in right. One out later, Montgomery walked on four pitches and Lutes pounced on a 3-2 pitch for his first homer of the year, giving the Illini a 6-2 lead.
Illinois added a run in the fourth when shortstop Brandon Wikoff laced a one-out single and moved to second on a groundout. Hastings then walked and Wikoff scored on a single by DH Daniel Webb, making the margin 7-2.
The Illini continued to put distance between themselves and the Jayhawks in the sixth when Wikoff legged out a one-out bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Third baseman Dominic Altobelli reached on a throwing error by the shortstop that allowed Wikoff to score and Hastings drove in Altobelli with a triple down the right-field line. Hastings came in on Montgomery's sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 10-2.
Kansas got three runs back in the seventh, using three hits, two walks and a hit batter to end Manson's stint on the mound as Hartleb brought in freshman Nick Chmielewski. After the Illini went down in order in the eighth, the Jayhawks struck again, scoring two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter before sophomore Mike Sterk relieved Chmielewski and finished the inning.
Illinois got one run in the top of the ninth when Bonadonna ripped a one-out double down the left-field line and advanced to third on Hudson's groundout. McMurray then doubled down the left-field line to extend Illinois' lead to 11-7. Kansas scored twice in the ninth and had runners on first and second before junior Ben Reeser coaxed a groundout to end the game with the Illini winning, 11-9.