Illinois Baseball Rallies For 9-8 Win
April 7, 2004
Champaign, Ill. - The University of Illinois baseball team used a pair of three-run innings in the sixth and seventh innings to rally to a 9-8 win over Western Michigan Wednesday afternoon at Illinois Field. The win moves Illinois to 8-14 on the year while the Broncos fall to 12-13 overall.
For the second time in as many days Western Michigan scored first, plating four in the top half of the first. But Illinois got back-to-back lead-off doubles in the bottom half of the inning from Trevor Huisinga and Shawn Roof to close the gap to 4-1. WMU tagged on another in the top half of the second to extend its lead back to four at 5-1.
Illinois climbed back to within two at 5-3 in the bottom half of the second. Chris Robinson and Ryan Hastings got back-to-back singles, and after Vince DiMaria sacrificed them to third and second, both scored when a ground ball off the bat of Ryan Rogowski was booted by the Broncos first baseman.
WMU made it 6-3 with single runs in the third and fifth innings.
Illinois staged another comeback in the bottom of the sixth. A one-out rally started with a Robinson single and highlighted by a two-run double from Brian Raymond led to a three-run frame that brought Illinois to within one at 7-6.
After WMU got a single run back in the top of the seventh to grab an 8-6 advantage, Illinois came right back in the bottom half. Chad Frk reached on a two-base error, and promptly came around to score when Eric Eymann followed with a single up the middle. Illinois got its first lead of the game five batters later when, after the Illini had loaded the bases, the WMU second baseman booted a two-out ground ball off the bat of Ryan Rogowski that allowed both Eymann and Drew Davidson to come home and give Illinois a 9-8 advantage.
Reliever James Morris, who threw three innings and allowed only one unearned run, picked up the win to move to 1-0 on the year. He allowed three hits in his three innings of work and struck out five while walking only one. WMU reliever Zach Straayer suffered the loss after allowing six runs (one earned) in two innings of work.
Illinois returns to action this weekend, hosting Michigan State for four games Friday-Sunday. The series starts Friday at 6:35 p.m., continues with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. and first pitch for Sunday's series finale is slated for 1:05 p.m.