Lee Zerrusen picked up his second win of the season with seven strong innings and six strikeouts.
March 20, 2010
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Junior starter Lee Zerrusen struck out six and allowed only one run over seven strong innings to pick up his second win of the year, as Illinois (5-8) defeated North Dakota State (6-9) 10-4 on Saturday and won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Four Illini recorded multiple hits while the Orange and Blue scored three runs in the sixth and five in the seventh to pull away from the Bison, who used eight different pitchers.
"Lee went out and did a good job today," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He really did well working out of jams in the first four innings and showed some great competitiveness. He kept the game close and allowed us to have two big innings in a row."
Illinois took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the first when first baseman Matt Dittman dropped an RBI bloop single into center field that plated designated hitter Casey McMurray, who doubled down the left field line. The Bison evened the contest at 1 apiece on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the third.
In the fourth, Zerrusen worked a quick 1-2-3 inning, with all three outs coming on grounders to third baseman Brandon Hohl. The next inning, the Bison had runners on first and third with no outs, but Zerrusen escaped the jam unscathed after recording the first out at home on a grounder to third, and then inducing a groundout to first and a flyout to right to end the frame.
The Illini jumped back in front 4-1 with a three-run sixth inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Hohl put the Orange and Blue ahead with an RBI single to the right side that scored McMurray. One out later, a pair of walks loaded the bases, and shortstop Josh Parr delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single up the middle, bringing home second baseman Pete Cappetta and catcher Adam Davis.
A five-run seventh put the game out of reach, as the Illini went ahead 9-1. Left fielder Mike Giller reached on an error and McMurray walked to start the inning before Dittman knocked in Giller with a double to the gap in right center. An out later, Hohl sent an RBI single into right field followed by a hit by pitch from Davis and a two-run single through the left side by right fielder Davis Hendrickson. Parr added a sac fly to right field which wrapped up the scoring in the inning.
Freshman Matt Milroy came on in relief in the eighth, as the Bison tallied three runs in the inning, but it wasn't enough. Hendrickson capped off an impressive 3-for-4 day in his first career start with an RBI single in the ninth, marking his third run batted in on the afternoon.
"We changed the lineup around just to see what people can do," Hartleb said. "Adam Davis did a good job behind the plate, and Davis Hendrickson was outstanding in the outfield. He played with a lot of composure, made some great plays defensively and got three hits."
Hohl finished the day 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run while Parr notched three RBIs and two hits to go along with a pair of stolen bases. Dittman also added two hits and two RBIs, and McMurray led the way with three runs scored.
The Illini improved to 2-1 on their Spring Trip and will square off against Dartmouth at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday at the Chain of Lakes Stadium.