Freshman second baseman finished his 2-for-5 night with a game-winning single to right-center to lift No. 26 Illinois to a 7-6 win over SIUE on Wednesday.
April 1, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Freshman second baseman Josh Parr (Chillicothe, Ill.) roped a single to right-center field that drove home freshman left fielder Willie Argo (Davenport, Iowa) after Argo's one-out triple in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift No. 26 Illinois to a 7-6 win over SIU Edwardsville at Illinois Field. Parr finished the night 2-for-5 and sophomore closer Nick Chmielewski (Orland Park, Ill.) improved to 3-1 on the season after two perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts as the Illini went to 17-5 on the season, Illinois' best start since an 18-4 beginning to the 1989 campaign.
SIUE got on the board first with three runs in the top of the first inning after a one-out triple, a sacrifice fly and a two-run homer. But Illinois got a run back in the bottom half when DH Casey McMurray (Willow Springs, Ill.) reached on a one-out error. He stole second and moved to third on a groundout. McMurray came home when third baseman Dominic Altobelli (Oak Forest, Ill.) reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, cutting SIUE's lead to 3-1.
The Cougars tacked on a run in the second when Chilos Norris III homered off reliever Kevin Manson (Park Ridge, Ill.), pushing the lead to 4-1. Illini reliever Lee Zerrusen (Teutopolis, Ill.) pitched a scoreless third inning and Mike Stankiewicz (Des Plaines, Ill.) tossed a clean frame in the fourth. After Blake Fairchild (Mattoon, Ill.) gave up a hit and a walk in the fifth, Corey Kimes (Ottawa, Ill.) got a line-out to Parr at second and escaped the inning with a nifty 4-3 double play by Parr.
Illinois grabbed its first lead of the night in the bottom of the fifth when Parr led off with a single and stole second. Center fielder Joe Bonadonna (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) was hit by a pitch and Parr moved to third on a wild pitch. McMurray's single to right-center brought home Parr and Altobelli walked to load the bases. Catcher Aaron Johnson (Sussex Corner, New Brunswick) scored two with his base hit and first baseman Craig Lutes (Normal, Ill.) dropped a bloop single down the left-field line to bring home Altobelli and put the Illini on top, 5-4.
But SIUE regained the lead in the sixth after a hit batter, a base hit, a sacrifice bunt and a two-run single to grab a 6-5 advantage. Reliever Aaron Martin (Georgetown, Ill.) tossed a scoreless seventh and the Illini tied the game in the bottom half when Wikoff led off with a single and, one out later, stole second and moved to third when the catcher's throw sailed into center field. Johnson brought him home with a base hit, then Lutes singled and pinch hitter Pete Cappetta (Lisle, Ill.) walked, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the rally with the score tied at 6.
Martin gave up a hit and an intentional walk in the eighth but used a pair of strikeouts to evade trouble and Chmielewski needed just nine pitches to retire the side in the ninth. He struck out a pair in the 10th to set the stage for Parr's heroics. With one out, Argo lifted a sky-high fly ball to right-center that dropped untouched and bounced off the wall, allowing him to scamper around to third with a triple. After working the count to 2-0, Parr laced a line drive to the warning track in right-center to drive home Argo with the winning run.
Johnson finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a stolen base, and Lutes went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a steal to lift Illinois to its first extra-inning win since May 5, 2007. Zerrusen, Stankiewicz, Martin and Chmielewski all had scoreless outings for the Illini.
Up Next: The Fighting Illini near the end of their longest homestand of 2009 when they host Indiana in a Big Ten series this weekend. The three-game set begins Friday at 6:05 p.m., the teams play the middle game of the series Saturday at 3:05 p.m. and wrap up the weekend Sunday at 1:05 p.m.