Winning Streak Snapped in 17-9 Loss to Michigan
April 12, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - On a windy Saturday at Illinois Field, the Illini saw their six-game winning streak come to an end, falling 17-9 to Michigan (15-19-1, 5-6 Big Ten). Illinois (18-12, 6-2 Big Ten) gave up a season-high 17 runs and 23 hits, as Michigan scored in seven of nine innings. Junior David Kerian led the UI offense, going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.
"It wasn't a very good day for us," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We had opportunities in every aspect, but didn't take advantage of them. When you only put up two zeroes on the board, it is tough to win. We played hard and didn't quit, but sometimes things just don't go your way."
With the wind blowing out at over 25 mph, Michigan ended Illinois' 25-inning scoreless streak with five runs in the first inning. Starter Ryan Castellanos gave up a two-run homer and a squeeze bunt sandwiched between two RBI doubles before being relieved by redshirt-junior Rob McDonnell.
After Michigan took a 6-0 lead with its third RBI double in the third, Kerian cut the deficit in half with a three-run homer. Junior Will Krug started the two-out rally with a ground-rule double followed by junior Michael Hurwitz drawing his Big Ten-leading 31st walk. Kerian crushed a 3-2 pitch over the center-field wall for his second home run of the season.
In the fourth, the Wolverines tacked on two more runs on a solo shot and RBI single against McDonnell, who was replaced by sophomore Nick Blackburn. Michigan's fourth RBI double and a sacrifice fly made it 10-3 after four runs crossed home in the stanza.
Illinois scored four runs after loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, getting back within three at 10-7. Krug plated junior Casey Fletcher and freshman Ryne Roper with a two-run single followed by Hurwitz knocking in sophomore Adam Walton and Krug with a two-run double.
A UM sacrifice fly in the sixth pushed it to 11-7, while the Illini scored two in the bottom half to make to 11-9. Walton brought home Fletcher with a sacrifice fly and Kerian drove in Ryne Roper with an RBI single.
The Wolverines' fifth RBI double and an error bumped it back up to a 13-9 lead in the top of the seventh, as sophomore J.D. Nielsen came in to pitch for junior Josh Ferry. The Illini loaded the bases in the bottom half but came up empty.
Michigan added a two-out RBI single in the eighth and three more runs in the ninth on an RBI single, a sacrifice fly and its sixth RBI double.
Krug finished 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, while Ryne Roper posted a career-high three hits and scored twice. Fletcher went 2-for-4 with two runs, and Walton extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games, the longest by an Illini this season.
Up Next: Illinois will square off with Michigan in the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Illinois Field.