Eighth-Inning Rally Gives Illini 11-10 Win Over Braves
April 6, 2010
PEORIA, Ill. - Illinois scored two runs in the eighth inning to take the lead for good and closer Bryan Roberts earned a four-out save as the Illini eked out an 11-10 win over Bradley at O'Brien Field Tuesday. Third baseman Brandon Hohl homered twice, the first homers of his Illini career, and first baseman Mike Giller knocked three doubles as the Illini offense scored in double figures for the fourth time in the last five games and pounded out double-digit hits for the fifth-straight contest to improve to 12-10 on the year. Illinois won its third-straight game and ninth in its last 11 games.
"We were very persistent and were able to get a good performance from Roberts to finish it out," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He showed good composure coming into the game in a tight situation and threw quality pitches."
The Illini went to work in the top of the first as center fielder Willie Argo dumped a leadoff single by shallow center and scored when first baseman Mike Giller doubled to the gap in left-center. After an out, Giller moved to third on DH Aaron Johnson's deep flyout to center and third baseman Brandon Hohl hit a line-drive home run to left field, his first in an Illini uniform, to put Illinois ahead 3-0.
The Orange and Blue added a run in the second after catcher Adam Davis drew a four-pitch walk and shortstop Josh Parr smoked the first pitch he saw for an RBI double to center field that brought Davis home and pushed the Illinois lead to 4-0.
Bradley got two runs back in the bottom of the second on consecutive singles and a two-run triple to right-center by shortstop Jason Leblebijian. But Illini starter Matt Milroy induced a foul pop-up in front of the Illinois dugout that Davis tracked down with a sliding catch for the second out of the inning and retired the side with a groundout to Hohl to keep the Illini up 4-2.
The Braves took the lead in the bottom of the third on a pair of hits, a hit batter, and an Illini error to take a 5-4 lead. But Illinois jumped back ahead with three two-out runs in the fourth. Second baseman Pete Cappetta drew a one-out walk and stole second, and after an out, Parr roped a double down the right-field line to drive him home. Center fielder Davis Hendrickson, who replaced Argo in the second inning, singled up the middle to score Parr, and Giller doubled down the right-field line to plate Hendrickson and post the Illini to a 7-5 advantage.
Bradley kept fighting, though, scoring three runs in the fourth on four hits and a sacrifice fly, going ahead 8-7, but Hohl smoked a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line for a solo homer, tying the game 8-8.
The Braves tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth, using a hit and taking advantage of two Illini errors in the inning to go ahead 9-8. Illinois scored a run in the seventh after Lutes knocked a two-out single, then stole second and moved to third when the catcher's throw got away. Cappetta followed by lacing a double down the left-field line to knot up the score at 9.
But Bradley grabbed the lead once again on a leadoff solo homer by left fielder Mike Tauchman to go ahead 10-9 after seven innings. Illinois retook the lead in the eighth after Giller took the extra base on his two-out hit to left, earning his third double of the night, then came home on left fielder Casey McMurray's single to center. McMurray stole second and Johnson laced a base hit to left, bringing in McMurray for an 11-10 Illini lead.
Illinois got a one-out single from Cappetta but couldn't get him home as they went to the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead. Roberts coaxed a flyout from the first hitter of the inning before striking out the next Brave batter after falling behind in the count 2-0. He finished the game by fanning Bradley's last hitter to lock up his third save of the year.
Giller was 3-for-5 with three doubles, two RBIs and two runs, and Hohl was 2-for-5 with two homers and three RBIs. Parr was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run, and Cappetta was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run. Lutes went 2-for-5 with a double and a run, and Johnson was 2-for-5 with an RBI.