Illini Paste Cornell 12-0; Finish Spring Trip 4-2
March 25, 2005
Bradenton, Fla. - In what seemed like a repeat of the previous day's game, Illinois jumped on Cornell pitching early and scored seemingly at will in a 12-0 victory in the Illini's last game of their annual spring trip. Illinois finishes 4-2 for the week at the IMG Academy and is now 9-5-1 on the season.
"It was a ballgame that the kids bounced back from a good win against them yesterday," Illinois coach Richard "Itch" Jones said. "I was impressed offensively how well our kids moved the ball in the first few innings - hitting behind runners and driving runners home once they got in scoring position."
The Illini scored one in the first, two in the second, three in the third and five in the fourth. With the win, Illinois improves to 7-0-1 when it scores first and 4-0 when it scores in the first inning.
Starter Jimmy Conroy put forth one of his best outings of the season, throwing six shutout innings and scattering four hits while striking out five and not walking any Big Red hitters. James Morris came in and threw a scoreless seventh inning and Dusty Bensko - after walking four times, scoring twice, doubling and driving in a run while playing first base - threw two shutout innings of relief with two strikeouts.
"Conroy and the pitching staff went right at their hitters and had another good game on the mound," Jones said. "There weren't many balls hit hard. We finally got Bensko on the mound and he threw two innings of shutout ball and we feel that he can help us as a two-way player."
Centerfielder Ryan Rogowski continued his hot streak, going 3-for-5 with a double, three runs and two stolen bases. Third baseman Chad Frk was 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and a run; and J.R. Kyes was 2-for-5 with a triple, two runs and an RBI.
After building a 6-0 lead over the first three innings, Illinois busted it open with a five-run fourth. Rogowski doubled down the left-field line to lead off the inning and moved to third on catcher Chris Robinson's single up the middle. Bensko walked to load the bases and leftfielder Drew Davidson's triple to the wall in right-center cleared them. Kyes took advantage of his first start of the season at second base, following with his first career triple to drive in Davidson. Kyes later scored on a double-play ball to increase the Illini lead to 11-0 after four innings.
Illinois got on the board with a run in the first when Rogowski singled through the left side then stole second, third and scored when the catcher's throw to third hopped into left field to give the Illini an early 1-0 lead.
After adding two more runs on three singles and a sacrifice fly in the second, Illinois put three more on the board in the third inning. Bensko walked, Davidson was hit by a pitch and Kyes loaded the bases on a bunt single down the third-base line. Frk followed with a two-RBI double down the firght-field line, and Kyes scored one out later on shortstop Toby Gardenhire's groundout to increase the lead to 6-0.
The Illini added a run in the seventh when Bensko drove in Rogowski from second with a double down the left-field line to make the margin 12-0. Rogowski had reached on a two-out single to right.
Rogowski led the Illinois offense throughout the spring trip, going 12-for-22 (.545) over the six games with three doubles, two triples, 11 runs and five stolen bases in six attempts. Robinson was 8-for-22 (.364) with a double, a triple, eight RBI and five runs as Illinois outscored its opponents 48-19. Brian Blomquist led the pitchers with a 2-0 record and 1.42 ERA in 12 2/3 innings, allowing only 12 hits and striking out seven while not giving up a walk. Conroy was 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.