Illini Blast Boilermakers, 17-12, in Series Opener

Sophomore David Kerian finished 4-for-4 with an Illini season-high six RBI and an inside-the-park home run.
Sophomore David Kerian finished 4-for-4 with an Illini season-high six RBI and an inside-the-park home run.

April 12, 2013

Box Score | Printable Box Score | Hartleb Interview | Johnson Interview | Hurwitz Interview

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois (20-10, 3-4 Big Ten) scored eight runs in the first inning and racked up a season-high 20 hits on its way to a 17-12 victory over Purdue (11-20, 4-6 Big Ten) in the series opener on Friday night. The Illini scored their second-most runs of the season in their 20th victory and matched their highest run output in a Big Ten game since May 21, 2010, when they defeated Indiana, 17-12. It was Illinois' longest game of the season, lasting three hours and 10 minutes at Illinois Field.

"Our offense was outstanding tonight," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "The thing I was most impressed with is that we gave up the four runs in the first inning and then found away to come back with eight in our half. We didn't panic and showed maturity out there. The hitters continued to tack on, and we took advantage of some mistakes."

Every Illinois starter recorded a hit, which included six multi-hit performances. Sophomores David Kerian and Michael Hurwitz turned in career days, combining for eight hits and 10 RBI, while freshman Jason Goldstein posted a second-straight three-hit performance. Kerian finished 4-for-4 with an Illini season-high six RBI and an inside-the-park home run, which marked the first UI one since Pete Cappetta on May 4, 2011. Hurwitz went 4-for-5 with a career-high four RBI, while Goldstein was 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr, senior Brandon Hohl, and redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper each collected two hits and two runs. Senior Justin Parr singled in his final at-bat in the eighth inning and extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games. Roper and junior Thomas Lindauer belted UI's other two home runs.

The game started off with a bang, as the two teams combined for 12 runs and 10 hits in a 40-minute first inning. The Boilermakers jumped on the Illini with four runs during a 40-pitch first frame for starter Kevin Johnson, but the Illini came right back to score eight runs in the bottom half on a 53-pitch stanza for Purdue.

Purdue plated its first four runs thanks to three RBI singles and an RBI groundout in the opening inning. Illinois responded immediately when they came to the plate, as Lindauer led off the hitting spree with a solo home run to left center, his team-high seventh of the season. Hurwitz then continued the comeback with a double to left field and completed the eight-run stanza with a three-run bases-clearing double to left field after the Illini batted around in the inning.

After Hurwitz's first double and a foul out, Jordan Parr singled and Hohl walked to load the bases. Kerian then knocked a two-run single to right, while Roper took a hit by pitch to reload the bases. Senior Davis Hendrickson walked to bring home the fourth run and freshman Jason Goldstein singled to center to score the fifth run. After another foul out, Hurwitz's second double of the inning plated the final three runs.

The Boilermakers got one back in the second, but Hendrickson threw out a runner at the plate to end the inning. Hurwitz collected his fourth RBI in the third, singling home Goldstein from second with two outs in the third to put Illinois ahead 9-5.

No runs were scored by either team in the fourth, and Johnson worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning, which proved to be his final one on the mound after being relieved by freshman Nick Blackburn in the sixth. The Midlothian, Ill., native is one inning shy of equaling Mark Dressen's school record for career innings pitched (328.2 IP). He improved to 5-2 after pitching five innings and allowing five earned runs.

The Illini scored their 10th run in the bottom of the fifth with a bases-loaded walk by Justin Parr. In the next inning, Roper belted his first home run of the season and second of his career over the wall in right center to score Kerian and give UI a 12-5 advantage. Kerian's inside-the-park home run came in the bottom of the seventh on a hit that got past the charging Purdue right fielder and gave Illinois a 10-run cushion at 15-5.

Purdue hit a pair of home runs and notched seven runs in the eighth, making it a three-run game. Illinois added a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on RBI singles by Hohl and Kerian. Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth and secured his 11th scoreless inning of the season.

Up Next: The Illini and Boilermakers will meet for game two of the series on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. Sophomore John Kravetz will get the start against Purdue's Robert Ramer.