Left fielder Casey McMurray went 4-for-7 with two doubles, three RBIs and three runs in Illinois' doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth on
March 24, 2010
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Illinois finished its annual Spring Trip with a doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth by scores of 4-3 and 8-6 at Chain of Lakes Stadium Wednesday, going 5-1 on the trip to even its season record at 8-8. Third baseman Brandon Hohl went 4-for-6 with a double, three RBIs and a run on the day, and left fielder Casey McMurray was 4-for-7 with two doubles, three RBIs and three runs. Freshman Kevin Johnson, who started game two, earned his first career victory by giving up one run over six innings of work.
"Offensively and defensively, we did a very good job, and Kevin was very good, too," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "In the first game, the bullpen was good and allowed us to get a win. We got some timely hits and we cleaned some things up defensively, which helped us tremendously."
In game one, Illinois got things rolling with three runs in the third. Back-to-back singles by center fielder Argo and designated hitter Mike Giller put runners at first and third to start the inning before left fielder Casey McMurray sent a laser down the left field line, good for a two-run double. One out later, a walk to third baseman Brandon Hohl and a single by first baseman Craig Lutes loaded the bases, and second baseman Pete Cappetta knocked in McMurray with a sacrifice fly to right for the 3-0 cushion.
The Big Green cut the Illini lead to 3-2 with an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth and evened the affair 3-3 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Senior Mike Sterk relieved starter Will Strack and worked a perfect sixth, needing only seven pitches to retire the side.
Sophomore Bryan Roberts came on in the seventh and struck out the first hitter he faced before allowing a first-pitch double to Dartmouth pinch hitter Jeff Onstott. A wild pitch moved Onstott to third and he attempted to score on a grounder to Lutes at first, but the senior threw home in time to cut him down for the second out. Roberts fanned the next hitter to record his first career save.
Giller was 2-for-4 with a steal and a run in game one, while Lutes went 2-for-3 with a steal. McMurray drove in two runs and had a double and a run, while Argo was 1-for-3 with an RBI, a run and a steal. Sterk improved to 3-0 on the season with his perfect frame and Roberts became the fourth different Illini to record a save this year.
In the day's second game, the Illini got on the board in the top of the first when McMurray ripped a two-out double down the left-field line and Hohl singled him home for a 1-0 lead. But Dartmouth tied the game in the second after a leadoff double, a groundout and an RBI double.
Illinois responded with three runs in the third when shortstop Josh Parr led off with a base hit and Argo drove him in with a triple to left-center. Argo scored on a wild pitch and Giller doubled to left-center. He moved to third on McMurray's infield single and scored when Hohl bounced into a double play, giving the Illini a 4-1 lead.
Giller led off the fifth with a walk and, one out later, stole second. Hohl drove him in with a single through the right side, pushing Illinois' lead to 5-1. Johnson worked around a base hit and a walk in the bottom of the fifth to post another scoreless inning, and also gave up a single and a walk with two outs in the sixth but came out unscathed.
The Illini put up a three-spot in the seventh when Argo legged out an infield hit and advanced to second on a poor throw by the second baseman. Giller reached on a come-backer to the mound and moved to second while Argo was being put out in a run-down. McMurray drove in Giller with a base hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hohl doubled to left, bringing in McMurray, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Lutes knocked in Hohl with a base hit up the middle, giving Illinois an 8-1 lead.
Sophomore Brian de la Torriente relieved Johnson in the seventh but walked the only three batters he faced before giving way to Wes Braun. Braun struck out the first hitter he faced before allowing a bases-loaded walk and an RBI single. John Anderson relieved Braun and forced in another run with a walk before striking out the next hitter for the second out. Anderson allowed a run-scoring single before being lifted in favor of Corey Kimes, who gave up a bases-loaded walk before striking out the next hitter for the final out of the game and giving the Illini an 8-6 win.
Hohl was 3-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run in game two, while McMurray was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs. Argo went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run. Johnson earned his first collegiate win by allowing only one run on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six innings. Kimes recorded his second save of the season.
Illinois has the weekend off before returning to action Tuesday at Illinois State at 6:05 p.m. That game begins the year's broadcast schedule on WDWS AM-1400 and the Illini Sports Network. The broadcast also will be streamed online at fightingillini.com. Illinois' home opener will be Wednesday, March 31, at 6:05 p.m. against Chicago State.