Brandon Hohl belted his team-leading fifth homer of the year and the Illini beat MVSU 7-1 to sweep the series.
April 1, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Freshman starting pitcher John Kravetz allowed only one unearned run and faced just three hitters over the minimum in a seven-inning outing as Illinois finished the weekend sweep of Mississippi Valley State with a 7-1 win in front of a season-high 1,147 fans at Illinois Field Sunday. Jordan Parr and Brandon Hohl both homered and eight of the nine Illini starters had at least one hit as Illinois improves to 15-10 on the season.
"I thought we made progress in a lot of areas throughout the weekend," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Today we really, really pitched well, so I was really pleased with that. John Kravetz had had two rough outings (recently) but had pitched really well before that, so I'm pleased with the progress he made. He was ahead of hitters all day and kept them in check. And our offense did a great job throughout the weekend. We jumped on them again early and kind of settled the game down."
After Kravetz worked a pair of clean innings to start the game, first baseman Jordan Parr crushed an 0-2 pitch from MVSU starter Chris Broadway over the scoreboard in left field for a solo home run. Second baseman Reid Roper kept the inning going with a bunt single to third base and stole second. Catcher Kelly Norris-Jones then doubled to left, driving home Roper, and scored on DH Bill Charvat's triple to left, pushing the Illinois lead to 3-0.
The Delta Devils got a run back in the third when Kravetz' pickoff throw to first was wild, allowing the runner to advance to third. Jordan Parr's throw back across the diamond also was wide of third base, permitting the runner to scamper home and cut the Illini advantage to 3-1.
But Illinois tacked on another in the bottom of the third as left fielder Justin Parr roped a double to left-center and scored on Hohl's single back up the middle, pushing the lead to 4-1.
Kravetz retired MVSU in order in the fourth, requiring only seven pitches. In the fifth, he gave up an infield hit to start the inning, but coaxed a groundout to Roper for the first out. Right fielder Davis Hendrickson then made an incredible diving catch near the foul line and threw back to second to double-off the runner for an inning-ending twin killing.
Kravetz continued to roll in the sixth, retiring the Delta Devils in order once again. Third baseman Brandon Hohl led off the bottom of the sixth with his team-leading home run, crushing an 0-1 offering from Broadway out to left field, to extend the lead to 5-1.
Kravetz allowed a leadoff bunt single in the seventh and the runner moved to second when Kravetz' throw to first was offline. But he kept his composure, retiring the next three hitters to end the inning and keep the Delta Devils off the board.
Luke Joyce relieved Kravetz in the eighth and mowed through the Delta Devils, retiring them in order on 13 pitches. In the bottom half, new right fielder Will Krug singled down the right-field line and stole second. Roper doubled to left-center, driving him home, and moved to third on a groundout. Pinch hitter Thomas Shelton then laced a double down the left-field line that plated Roper, extending the Illini margin to 7-1.
Ronnie Muck came on to pitch the ninth and set down the Delta Devils in order once more, finishing the 7-1 victory and the series sweep.
Offensively, Hohl was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, and Jordan Parr went 2-for-4 with a solo homer. Roper was 2-for-4 with a double, a steal, an RBI and two runs, while Norris-Jones went 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run.
Kravetz was strong on the mound, allowing only one unearned run on three hits over seven innings, striking out three and not allowing a walk. He used only 82 pitches, or 11.7 per inning, and threw 56 strikes (68.2 percent). Joyce and Muck each pitched perfect innings, striking out one apiece.
The Illini return to action on Tuesday when they host Bradley at 4:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. The Orange and Blue defeated the Braves 6-3 in Peoria on March 28.