Illinois Drops Finale, Series to Michigan, 4-2

Redshirt-junior Reid Roper went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the finale loss to Michigan.
Redshirt-junior Reid Roper went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the finale loss to Michigan.

April 13, 2014

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois (18-13, 6-3 Big Ten) dropped the series finale, 4-2, to Michigan (16-19-1, 6-6 Big Ten) on Sunday at Illinois Field. The Illini tied the game at two in the sixth, but gave up a run in the eighth and ninth, as they finished 1-2 on the weekend. The Orange and Blue matched Michigan with 10 hits, but had four base runners picked off.

"We were not very smart and did not play good baseball today," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We made fundamental mistakes. We were very poor on the base paths and didn't use the field at the plate. We are at the point in the season where we need guys to produce, but we aren't getting that done offensively."

Junior Will Krug led off the game with a single and advanced to third on a groundout to third with heads-up base running. Junior David Kerian drove in the first run with a single to center, putting the Illini up 1-0 after one. Michigan evened the score at one apiece with a sacrifice fly in the third.

After loading the bases in the fifth, Michigan only got one run on a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead. Catcher Jason Goldstein limited the damage when he caught the runner at third with a pump fake down to second to end the inning.

In the sixth, Illinois knotted it up at two with an RBI single by redshirt-junior Reid Roper. Kerian led off the stanza with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on Goldstein's infield single. The Illini first baseman crossed home when Reid Roper found a hole through the right side. The Orange and Blue loaded the bases in the frame, but couldn't get another run home.

Senior Ronnie Muck relieved Kravetz, who received a no decision, in the seventh and retired the side with three groundouts. Michigan retook the lead with an RBI single in the eighth following a leadoff double and sacrifice bunt. The Wolverines tacked on an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double. Both runs were charged to Muck, who fell to 0-3 on the year.

Krug finished 3-for-5 in the finale and hit .571 (8-for-14) to lead the Illini on the weekend. Sophomore Adam Walton extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by an Illini this season.

Up Next: Illinois will travel to Normal, Ill., on Tuesday to face Illinois State at Duffy Bass Field. This game was originally scheduled to be played in Champaign, but the two teams flipped home dates following inclement weather for the first game.