Joe Bonadonna was 3-for-5 with a double, four RBIs and a run to help Illinois overcome an early 4-0 deficit on the way to a 10-8 win at Michigan.
April 11, 2009
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Illinois fought back from an early 4-0 deficit, scoring 10 runs in the middle three innings to take down Michigan 10-8 at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium. Center fielder Joe Bonadonna (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs and first baseman Matt Dittman (Libertyville, Ill.) went 2-for-3 with his first career home run and two RBIs. Lee Zerrusen pitched 5 1/3 gutty innings of relief and Will Strack earned his first career save with 2 2/3 shutout innings of work to finish the game.
"Our guys competed well today," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We were flat early and got off to a rough start, but Joe got that big hit with the bases loaded in the fourth and that gave us life."
Michigan got on the board in the first on a walk, a double, an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead. The Maize and Blue pushed across another run in the third on two hits, a deep fly out that moved up the runners and a hit batter to go up 4-0.
Illinois took advantage of a golden opportunity in the fourth inning when third baseman Dominic Altobelli (Oak Forest, Ill.) and catcher Aaron Johnson (Sussex Corner, New Brunswick) drew walks to start the frame. Dittman sacrificed the runners over and right fielder Pete Cappetta (Lisle, Ill.) walked to load the bases with only one out. After a strikeout, second baseman Josh Parr (Chillicothe, Ill.) was hit by a 3-2 pitch to force in a run and Bonadonna laced an 0-2 pitch back up the middle for a two-run single, cutting Michigan's lead to 4-3.
The Wolverines got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth after a leadoff single and a walk. Fellows attempted to sacrifice the runners over but was safe when the ball popped out of Parr's glove as he received the throw at first. As the ball trickled away form Parr, Michigan catcher Tim Kalczynski sprinted home from third and Cislo moved up to third. LaMarre lifted a line-drive sacrifice fly to right that brought home Cislo to put the Wolverines on top 6-3.
But the Illini kept fighting as Wikoff reached when shortstop Anthony Toth couldn't handle his hot shot to start the fifth. One out later, Wikoff stole second and moved to third on Johnson's flyout. Dittman then came up and ripped Wolverine reliever Kolby Wood's 1-1 offering over the fence in right-center for a two-run homer, the first of his career, bringing Illinois within 6-5.
After reliever Lee Zerrusen worked a quick bottom half of the fifth, DH Willie Argo (Davenport, Iowa) reached base and moved to second on a throwing error by Michigan third baseman John Lorenz to start the sixth inning. Parr singled to left-center, moving Argo up a station, and Bonadonna ripped a double down the left-field line to bring home both runners, as Parr was running on the 3-2 pitch. After a pitching change and an out, Wikoff walked and Altobelli pulled a double inside the bag at third that rattled down into the left-field corner, bringing home both Wikoff and Bonadonna. Johnson followed by poking a double over first base to plate Altobelli and wrap up the five-run sixth inning that put Illinois on top, 10-6.
Michigan got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on an error, a one-out double and a sacrifice fly. In the seventh, right fielder Alan Oaks knocked a one-out homer to left-center after an eight-pitch at bat, cutting Illinois' lead to 10-8 and proving to be the end of a bulldog-like relief performance by Zerrusen. The sophomore allowed only two earned runs out of five total on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings of work after entering in the second inning.
The Wolverines looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the eighth when Cislo led off with a single to left, but reliever Will Strack struck out Fellows on a checked swing. Cislo was put out at second on LaMarre's ground ball and first baseman Mike Dufek hit a frozen rope off the 25-foot-high brick wall in left. LaMarre was waved around third, but left fielder Casey McMurray (Willow Springs, Ill.) made a strong throw that Altobelli relayed home to Johnson, who tagged out LaMarre to the inning with the Illini still clinging to their 10-8 lead.
After Illinois went down in order in the ninth, Strack got Crank to lift a fly ball to left and Cappetta seemed to make the catch before all in attendance saw the ball trickle out of his glove and fall to the ground. But third-base umpire David Buck quickly confirmed the out, saying Cappetta lost control while transferring the ball from his glove to his throwing hand. Strack then struck out Oaks looking and Dittman stabbed a soft liner toward the hole to end the game.
In addition to the big offensive days by Bonadonna and Dittman, Altobelli drove in two runs and scored twice, and Wikoff scored a pair of runs. Strack finished the game with 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three without a walk.
Up Next: The Illini and the Wolverines finish the series on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. (CT). Illinois' Bryan Roberts will look to carry the Orange and Blue to a series win against a starter to be determined for Michigan.