Shortstop Thomas Lindauer reached base four times in Illinois' 13-3 loss at Nebraska on Sunday.
March 25, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Illini scored first for the third-straight game, but Nebraska pounded out 14 hits and scored in five innings in a 13-3 victory over Illinois Sunday afternoon at Haymarket Park. After Illinois took the opener on Friday, the Cornhuskers came back to take the series with two straight wins to improve to 17-9 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten. The Illini end the conference-opening weekend at 11-9 overall, 1-2 in conference action.
Illinois' lead-off man, Thomas Lindauer, reached base all four times in Sunday's rubber match, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks. He hit .545 for the series, but the Huskers, paced by seven strong innings by lefty Zach Hirsch (3-1), held the Illini to just five hits on the day.
"Thomas was certainly the bright spot throughout the weekend," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He had good at bats and was on base all four times today. I was really pleased with how hard he played late in the game when we were down. He was still diving after balls and playing with some passion."
Illinois scored first for the third straight day, tallying a run in the game's first frame. Lindauer roped a double down the left-field line, advanced to third on a Willie Argo groundout and scored on a Justin Parr sacrifice fly to center field.
But Nebraska tied the score with a run in the bottom of the first. Michael Pritchard walked, advanced to third on a double to the gap by Rich Sanguinetti and scored on a ground out.
The Huskers took the lead with four runs in the third inning on a lead-off walk, a sacrifice and four singles. Richard Stock, Kash Kalkowski (2) and Cory Burleson drove in runs on base hits. Then Kale Kiser took the first pitch of the fourth inning and deposited over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the season to make it 6-1, Huskers.
Nebraska added four more runs on five hits in the sixth inning. Stock tallied two more RBIs on a single to right field. Sanguinetti and Chad Christensen also drove in runs in that inning. They added three more runs in the seventh. Christenson had his third and fourth RBI of the day with a two-run double.
Illinois scored a run in the eighth and another in the ninth. Backup catcher Alex Lincoln singled and scored on a Justin Parr sacrifice fly in the seventh and the Illini picked up an unearned run in the eighth when pinch hitter Thomas Shelton lined a two-out single down the right-field line and scored when the center fielder misplayed pinch hitter Bill Charvat's fly ball, making the final score 13-3.
"It goes back to simple fundamentals," Hartleb said. "When you don't execute, it's tough to win. Both innings they scored four runs, we didn't get outs on bunts. From a pitching standpoint, I think we were only ahead on five hitters the entire day. From a hitting standpoint, I don't think we had as many good at bats as we had the first two days. I still believe we have a good team, but we just have to perform better fundamentally."
Illinois travels to Illinois State on Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. start and visits Bradley on Wednesday (6 p.m.) before opening the home schedule at 4 p.m. Friday against Mississippi Valley State.