Illini Snap #16 IU's NCAA-Best Streak in 3-2 Win
April 7, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Freshman Ryan Castellanos won his first career start, and senior Justin Parr hit a home run and scored the winning run on senior Brandon Hohl's second sac fly, as the Illini defeated No. 16 Indiana, 3-2, in the series finale. Illinois snapped IU's NCAA-best 18-game winning streak and handed the Hoosiers their first Big Ten loss this season. Freshman Tyler Jay held onto the one-run lead by retiring all four batters he faced out of the bullpen, while fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts closed the door for his second save with 1.2 scoreless innings.
"Ryan was outstanding in his first collegiate start," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He was very calm out on the mound and threw three pitches for a strike. Tyler Jay and Bryan Roberts came in from the bullpen and got the job done and Justin Parr was excellent at the plate to get us a good team win."
Castellanos pitched six solid innings and made only one mistake, giving up a two-out, two-run home run that tied it at two in the bottom of the fifth. He scattered five hits, had zero walks and was put in line for the win thanks to Hohl's game-winning sac fly in the sixth. The Davie, Fla., native was extremely efficient with 43 of his 55 pitches going for strikes.
Jay continued the effective Illini pitching when he took over on the mound, needing just five pitches to work a perfect seventh inning. He used four more pitches to get the first out of the eighth before Roberts replaced him on the hill. The Lisle, Ill., native recorded a strikeout and line out to finish off the inning.
Roberts remained on the rubber for the bottom of the ninth, where he hit the first batter before getting a 4-6-3 double play. After IU got its only hit in the final four innings with a single up the middle, Roberts worked all the way back from a 3-0 count to notch a game-ending strikeout. He picked up his 11th career save to tie Mike Munson for the sixth-most in school history and has not allowed a run in 10 innings this year.
Offensively, Justin Parr finished 4-for-4 and homered on the first pitch of the fourth inning to give the Illini their first lead of the series. Hohl plated sophomore David Kerian with his first sac fly to center in that inning and brought home Justin Parr on another sac fly to center for the winning run in the sixth.
"Our guys played very, very well with their backs against the wall today," Hartleb said. "I was really pleased with how we responded after having a couple games not go our way."
Illinois also shined defensively with a pair of key assists early in the game from its corner outfielders. Senior right-fielder Davis Hendrickson gunned down a runner trying to go first to third that prevented IU from having runners on the corners with one out in the second. Left-fielder Jordan Parr saved a run in the third, throwing out a runner at home for an inning-ending double play on a line out to left.
"It was a great throw by Davis from right, and then Brandon made an excellent pick and tag," Hartleb said. "Jordan made an outstanding throw from left, and Jason did a great job holding on to end the next inning."
Justin Parr matched his career high with four hits and extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. He finished the weekend 8-for-12 and took over the top spot in the Big Ten with 52 hits. Freshman Jason Goldstein also had a career day, collecting a personal-best three hits and throwing out his second runner of the weekend.
The Illini improved to 19-9 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten with their seventh one-run victory on the season. They defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since March 9, 2012, when they knocked off No. 18 Oregon (2-1). Indiana (25-4) suffered its first loss since March 9 and dropped to 8-1 in the Big Ten after the Illini snapped their school-record winning streak.
Up Next: Illinois will return to Champaign for a midweek contest against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday, April 9 at 6:05 p.m.