Daniel Webb homered and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Illinois' 8-7 win over Indiana.
April 5, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Illinois scored four runs in the top of the ninth and Ben Reeser held Indiana at bay in the bottom half for his fourth save as the Fighting Illini downed the Hoosiers, 8-7, at Sembower Field on Saturday. Center fielder Kyle Hudson recorded his second career four-hit game, while DH Daniel Webb homered and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. It was Illinois' seventh comeback win of the season and second ninth-inning comeback in 2008 as the Illini improved to 15-7 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten.
"I'm very proud of the way our players reacted in an adverse situation today," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "They believe they're going to win regardless of the score and situation, and that's a very valuable trait."
Illinois jumped on top with a run in the first when Hudson reached on a first-pitch single, stole second, moved to third on second baseman Joe Bonadonna's base hit and scored on a grounder by shortstop Brandon Wikoff. Indiana tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, but Webb ripped a first-pitch fastball in the second for his third homer of the year, giving the Illini a 2-1 lead.
The Orange and Blue tacked on two more runs in the third thanks to another lead-off single by Hudson and a walk by Bonadonna. Wikoff reached on a bunt single that loaded the bases and third baseman Dominic Altobelli legged out an infield single that scored Hudson. One out later, a pitch by Indiana starter Tyler Tufts got away, allowing Bonadonna to score and put Illinois up, 4-1. But the Hoosiers scored two in the bottom half and took a 5-4 lead with two more in the fifth inning.
The Hoosiers tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh, with Manson being lifted in the sixth after giving up an RBI single to Indiana's Josh Phegley. Mike Sterk came on in relief and escaped the inning when Phegley was caught stealing by Illini catcher Chris Montgomery. Indiana scored an unearned run in the seventh after two Illinois errors, making it a 7-4 margin.
Indiana reliever Anthony Agnew, who had worked five scoreless innings, came back out to start the ninth and allowed a single to right fielder Nick Stockwell, a double to Hudson and a walk to Bonadonna to load the bases. Jason Ferrell relieved him and Hoosier first baseman Jerrud Sabourin let a Wikoff grounder get through his legs as Stockwell and Hudson scored. Altobelli followed that with a double to the wall in left that tied the game at 7 and Hastings walked to re-load the bases. Webb then lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Wikoff for an 8-7 lead.
Illini closer Ben Reeser came on to pitch the ninth and induced two quick groundouts before Indiana's Ethan Wilson doubled to left. Pinch hitter Brad Henke worked the count to 3-2, but Reeser blew a fastball by him to earn his fourth save of 2008.
"It's so important when we go to the bullpen that they give our offense a chance to get back in the game, and that's exactly what our relievers did today," Hartleb said. "I was pleased with Sterk and Reeser showed good composure by getting a big strikeout after giving up the double."
Stockwell was 2-for-4 with a run and Altobelli went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Wikoff drove in two runs and Bonadonna scored twice as eight Illini hitters had at least one hit and all nine reached base at least once. Sterk pitched well in relief, allowing only an unearned run on three hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings while striking out one, earning his first career win.
Up Next: Illinois and Indiana return to the field on Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at noon (CT). Mike Stankiewicz will start the first game for the Illini, while Scott Shaw will take the hill in game two.