Illini Fall to Iowa, 7-4, in Front of Season-High Crowd
April 9, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois gave up four runs in the first two innings and wasn't able to put together a comeback as Iowa took a 7-4 win in front of a season-high 1,326 fans at Illinois Field on Saturday. Third baseman Brandon Hohl went 3-for-3 with a homer and drove in all four of Illinois' runs, and second baseman Justin Parr was 2-for-3 with a run as Illinois fell to 10-15 overall, 2-3 in the Big Ten.
"Obviously, (starting pitcher) John Anderson didn't have it tonight," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He's usually more consistent early. I thought he threw some good pitches that they took good swings at and centered some balls. It just wasn't his night. And I thought their pitcher just did a good job. He had great command and threw his fastball at the knees on both sides of the plate. You just have to tip your hat to him and you move forward to tomorrow."
Iowa struck first with a run in the first inning after an error on a grounder by the leadoff batter and a base hit. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a station, a hit batter loaded the bases and DH Phil Keppler drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Hawkeyes added three in the second on four hits - including two doubles - a sacrifice bunt and a walk, as they extended their lead to 4-0. Iowa added a run in the fourth after a double and a single with two outs to go ahead 5-0.
Illinois battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth after Parr drew a leadoff walk and catcher Adam Davis hit a ground-rule double to left-center, putting men on second and third. One out later, Hohl ripped a 1-1 pitch just inside third base to drive home both runners and cut Iowa's lead to 5-2.
But the Black and Gold responded in the fifth when right fielder Chett Zeise blasted a 3-2 pitch out to left field for a home run, extending Iowa's lead to 6-2.
Illini reliever Matt Milroy retired the Hawkeyes in order in the sixth but gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and the runner moved to second on a wild pitch. Milroy induced a soft liner to Hohl and coaxed a foul-out to right fielder Davis Hendrickson, which allowed the runner to move up to third. He walked the next hitter on four pitches and was relieved by Bill Barrett, who induced a grounder to shortstop Thomas Lindauer to retire the side and keep Iowa off the board.
Barrett allowed a two-out walk in the eighth but that runner was caught stealing to end the inning. Second baseman Justin Parr led off the bottom of the eighth with a base hit through the right side against new pitcher Tim Fangman, but he was caught stealing at second for the first out. The Illini couldn't mount a rally and went to the ninth trailing 6-2.
The Hawkeyes added another run in the top of the ninth after a two-out double and a wild pitch put a runner at third. Barrett gave up an RBI single through the left side and a walk before striking out the inning's final hitter as Iowa pushed its lead to 7-2.
Illinois started to get things rolling in the bottom of the ninth when first baseman Matt Dittman led off with a base hit up the middle and Hohl blasted a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line for his second home run of the year, bringing the Illini within 7-4. But Lindauer lined out to shortstop and pinch hitter Thomas Shelton was thrown out by an eyelash on a grounder to the hole on the right side that the second baseman fielded and threw to the pitcher covering first. And Hendrickson struck out looking to end the game.
Hohl led the Illini offense, going 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs, and Parr was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. Milroy allowed only one run in three innings of relief, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out one. Barrett also allowed only one run over 2 1/3 innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out two.
Illinois and the Hawkeyes return to Illinois Field on Sunday for the rubber game of the series at 1:05 p.m. The Illini will send left-hander Corey Kimes to the hill, while Iowa will give the ball to right-hander Ricky Sandquist.