Kravetz's Gem Completes Sweep of Northwestern, 1-0
April 6, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. - Junior John Kravetz tossed a career-high eight scoreless innings and senior Ronnie Muck closed the 1-0 victory and series sweep of Northwestern on Sunday at Rocky Miller Park. Sophomore Jason Goldstein knocked in junior David Kerian with an RBI single for the only run in the fourth, which proved to be enough behind the third stellar pitching performance of the weekend. The Illini won their fifth consecutive game and ninth in their last 10 to improve to 17-11 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten.
"John threw a great game and we got the timely hit when we needed it to get the sweep," associate head coach Eric Snider. "Ronnie came in and shut the door. Our pitching staff was excellent all weekend, so credit to Drew Dickinson on the job he has done with them."
Kravetz equaled a career-high seven strikeouts and did not issue a walk, which was the theme of the weekend for Illini pitchers. UI hurlers recorded 30 strikeouts and only two walks in the three-game sweep. The Lansing, Ill., native scattered four hits and improved to 3-1 on the season. Muck gave up a two-out single in the ninth before closing the door for his first save of the season.
Illinois' pitching staff only allowed two runs in 28 innings for a 0.64 ERA in the sweep, which included two shutouts. The Illini lowered their team ERA to 2.80, marking their best average of the year. The Illini offense outscored the Wildcats 20-2 in the series and had 19 walks.
The Illini defense also got the job done, highlighted by a Goldstein pick off in the bottom of the eighth. Northwestern put the tying run on second with a single and a sacrifice bunt. On the next pitch, Goldstein fired down to second where sophomore Adam Walton applied the tag to erase the threat.
After Northwestern committed eight errors in the first two games, the Wildcats played error-free on Sunday, but did have a wild pitch, which the Illini followed up with their only run. Kerian connected on a one-out single in the fourth and advanced to second on the wild pitch. Goldstein, who went 2-for-4, singled up the middle and Kerian scored standing up.
Illinois earned its first three-game sweep of the season and first Big Ten sweep since downing Penn State (May 10-12) last season at home. The last time UI swept a Big Ten series on the road was at Northwestern (April 27-29) in 2012. It also was the Illini's first 1-0 victory since Feb. 24, 2008, vs. Lamar at the Al Ogletree Classic.
Up Next: Illinois will play Eastern Illinois on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Peterson Park in Mattoon, Ill. The Illini will return home next weekend for a three-game series with Michigan at Illinois Field on April 11-13.