Illini Fall to Mizzou, 5-4, at Busch Stadium

Justin Parr went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI in Illinois' 5-4 loss.
Justin Parr went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI in Illinois' 5-4 loss.

April 11, 2012

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Postgame Interview: Coach Hartleb

ST. LOUIS - Illinois scored three in the first inning but Missouri scored in each of the first four innings and held on for a 5-4 win in front of 1,399 fans at Busch Stadium. Justin Parr was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run, and Ronnie Muck struck out four over three scoreless innings of relief.

"Four of the five runs they scored came on walks, two of them with two outs," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "I was disappointed that after the first inning, where we really jumped on their pitcher, that we changed our approach a little bit and we weren't as aggressive on balls in the strike zone."

In the top of the first, Illini starter Nick Chmielewski recorded a pair of quick groundouts before issuing a walk. A wild pickoff attempt allowed the runner to move to second and the runner scored on a base hit to right-center, putting the Tigers up 1-0.

Center fielder Willie Argo knocked a one-out single to right and stole second base and left fielder Justin Parr smacked an RBI double to left-center. Third baseman Brandon Hohl knocked a base hit through the middle to drive in Parr. Hohl was put out on first baseman Jordan Parr's groundout and right fielder Davis Hendrickson laced an RBI double to left-center, giving the Illini a 3-1 lead.

But Mizzou battled back in the second, with a leadoff double and a base hit, putting men on the corners. After an out, Chmielewski gave up an RBI single down the left-field line before coaxing a foul-out to Hohl and a line-out to Hendrickson to strand a runner and hold onto a 3-2 margin.

The Tigers tied it up in the third after a two-out walk, a hit batter and an RBI single through the left side, evening the game at 3-3. After Illinois went down in order in the third, Mizzou took advantage of reliever Luke Joyce mixing in three walks around a pair of groundouts by knocking a single to center to plate a pair and push the Tigers ahead, 5-3.

In the bottom half, DH Bill Charvat drew a leadoff walk and, after an out, moved to second on a bad pickoff throw. But he was stranded there after a strikeout and a groundout. Joyce worked around a leadoff single and a one-out walk to leave both runners on the bases with a pair of fly-outs to Argo.

Ronnie Muck took over on the mound in the sixth and allowed a leadoff single before inducing a pair of groundouts and striking out Mizzou DH Scott Sommerfeld to end the inning. After the Illini went down in order in the bottom half, Muck recorded two quick outs in the seventh on a strikeout and a groundout. He struck out the third hitter of the inning, but the runner reached on a dropped third strike and stole second. After a four-pitch walk and a double-steal, Muck notched a punch-out to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.

Second baseman Reid Roper led off the seventh with a double to right-center and moved to third on Argo's one-out single to center. After an out, Argo stole second, the Roper scored and Argo advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hohl popped up to first to end the inning, though, as the Illini drew within 5-4.

Muck gave up a leadoff double in the eighth but coaxed three consecutive groundouts to get out of the jam and keep the Illini within a run. Illinois went down in order in the eighth and Roper came on to pitch the ninth. He worked a quick 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout.

Pinch hitter Thomas Shelton reached on an error by the first baseman to start the ninth and was pinch-run for by Will Krug. But Roper sent a sharp liner to the first baseman, who stepped on the bag and threw to second for the double play. Lindauer struck out to end the game as the Illini fell, 5-4.

Justin Parr was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Argo was 2-for-4 with two steals and a run. Roper doubled and scored, while Hohl and Hendrickson each were 1-for-4 with an RBI. On the mound, Muck tossed four scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts, allowing only two hits and a walk, and Roper pitched a perfect ninth.