4-Run 10th Pushes Illini Past Northwestern, 6-2

Junior Will Krug knocked in the winning run as part of a four-run 10th inning in Illinois' 6-2 victory over Northwestern.
Junior Will Krug knocked in the winning run as part of a four-run 10th inning in Illinois' 6-2 victory over Northwestern.

April 5, 2014

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EVANSTON, Ill. - Illinois won its fourth straight game on Saturday with a 6-2 victory over Northwestern in 10 innings, which also marked its eighth win in the last nine games. The Illini scored four runs in the 10th inning and capitalized on three Northwestern errors in the game. The Illini improved to 16-11 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten, as sophomore Tyler Jay picked up his first win this season following two scoreless innings in relief of starter Ryan Castellanos.

"We kept on grinding and found a way to win in the end," associate head coach Eric Snider said. "Will and David each put good swings on a pitch they could handle. Ryan threw really well and Tyler and Nick finished off a strong pitching performance."

Illinois took advantage of a one-out error in the top of the 10th on its way to a four-run inning. Freshman Ryne Roper reached on a miscue by the shortstop. After a walk to sophomore Adam Walton, junior Will Krug knocked in the winning run on an RBI single that plated Roper. Junior Michael Hurwitz drew his Big Ten-leading 27th walk to load the bases, and junior David Kerian followed it with a two-run double. After an intentional walk to sophomore Jason Goldtsein, redshirt-junior Reid Roper plated the fourth run on an RBI groundout.

Castellanos did not allow a walk for the fifth straight start, extending his NCAA-leading mark to 34 innings without a free pass this season. The Davie, Fla., native received a no decision after allowing two runs in seven innings and matching a career-high five strikeouts.

Jay took over in the eighth with the game knotted at two and did not allow a hit in two innings. He did give up a walk and a hit by pitch, but escaped the jam. He improved to 1-0 and dropped his team-leading ERA to 1.33. Sophomore Nick Blackburn had two strikeouts as part of a scoreless 10th inning to finish the game. The Illini pitching staff lowered its team ERA to 2.90.

The Illini got on the board in the third inning when Krug brought home junior Casey Fletcher with a sacrifice fly. Northwestern responded with its first two runs of the series in the bottom on the third to take a 2-1 lead. Illinois came back to tie it at two in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Goldstein that scored Hurwitz.

The Orange and Blue earned their sixth comeback victory this season and moved to 2-1 in extra inning games this year. Kerian went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Krug finished 1-for-4 with a run and two RBI.

Up Next: Illinois will go for the sweep of Northwestern on Sunday at 2 p.m., which will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. Junior John Kravetz will toe the rubber against Brandon Magallones at Rocky Miller Park.