Illini Drop Series Finale to Oakland, 6-3
March 31, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois came up short in its attempt at a four-game sweep of Oakland on Sunday, falling 6-3 to the Grizzlies in the series finale at Illinois Field. The Illini fell behind 5-0 early and were unable to complete the comeback, but still won the series 3-1 and have an overall record of 17-7.
"If you look at the statistics, they outplayed us in every aspect," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "They were the better team today, so we tip our caps to them. They are a very well-coached team and responded in the final game."
Oakland scored first on an RBI single in the third inning and followed it up with four runs in the fourth, including a three-run homer, which proved to be too much for the Orange and Blue to overcome. They also tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI groundout.
Illinois did all of its scoring in the sixth inning. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz doubled to lead off the frame and later scored on an RBI single by sophomore David Kerian. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr walked, stole second, advanced to third on Kerian's hit and crossed home plate on a wild pitch. Junior Thomas Lindauer brought home the final run of the day for the Illini on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Freshman Nick Blackburn suffered his first loss of the year after giving up three runs in 3.1 innings. Freshman Ryan Castellanos was solid out of the bullpen, tossing three innings and only allowing one run, while freshman Tyler Jay and redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper each turned in an inning of work and did not give up a hit.
During the series victory, senior Justin Parr led the way with a .500 average (9-for-18) and had a home run and a team-high six RBI while extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, the most by an Illini this year. Kerian hit .462 (6-for-13), scored four runs and had four RBI along with extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz (.357) and senior Brandon Hohl (.333) both hit over .300 for the weekend after each collected five hits and lengthened their hitting streaks to eight and nine games, respectively.
The Illini belted five home runs for the weekend to increase their season total to 11 and outscored the Grizzlies 31-16. Illinois also was perfect on the base paths, going 13-for-13 on stolen bases, led by five from Kerian, who now owns the team-lead with 12.
Up Next: Illinois will be back in action on Tuesday, April 2 when it plays Missouri at 6:30 p.m. at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.