Right-hander Mike Stankiewicz had a career day, tossing a one-hit complete-game shutout to lift Illinois to a 1-0 win in Saturday's first game. Stankiewicz struck out a career-high seven Wildcats in seven innings.
April 14, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. - Illinois earned its first doubleheader sweep of the season thanks to a complete-game one-hitter by Mike Stankiewicz in game one and a four-run sixth inning in game two that gave the Illini the lead for good. The Orange and Blue defeated Northwestern 1-0 in the first game and 8-7 in the nightcap as Ryan Snowden broke the school hitting streak record by hitting safely in 25 straight games.
"Stankiewicz was outstanding today," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "It was huge for us that he went out and shut Northwestern down, and he actually got better as the game went along."
After five scoreless innings by both teams in game one, Illinois broke through with a seventh-inning tally. Catcher Lars Davis dropped a one-out single into right-center field and DH Daniel Webb hit a soft chopper to the left side of the mound. Davis was off on the pitch and was able to make it all the way to third on the throw to first by Northwestern's Kenneth Avila. First baseman Mike Rohde then laced a single up the middle to drive in Davis and give Illinois a 1-0 lead.
That was all Stankiewicz needed as he didn't allow a base runner after the third inning and struck out a career-high seven, including striking out the side in the seventh to end the game. He became the first Illini pitcher to throw a one-hitter since Brett Weber one-hit Northwestern on April 4, 1998. He finished with a complete-game one-hit shutout, walking three and striking out seven, throwing 58 strikes in 89 pitches (65 percent). It was his second complete game in Big Ten play.
In game two, Illinois got a run in the first as Snowden led off the game with a double to left-center and scored when the Northwestern second baseman booted a ball hit by third baseman Brandon Wikoff. But the Wildcats fought back with a four-run first inning, chasing Illini starter Aaron Martin after just two-thirds of an inning and sending 10 men to the plate.
The Orange and Blue tied the game in the third, though, when centerfielder Kyle Hudson led off with a triple to center and scored on a groundout by Snowden. Wikoff singled to right and moved to second on Davis' flyout to center. Wikoff advanced to third on a passed ball and Rohde drove him in with a no-doubt two-run home run to right-center, his first homer of the year, tying the game 4-4.
Northwestern touched Illini reliever Ben Reeser for a run in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 7-4 lead, but Illinois came through in the sixth. Webb singled down the right-field line and was pinch run for by Joe Bonadonna. Shortstop Shawn Roof followed with a double to right-center that drove in Bonadonna, and Roof moved to third on second baseman Ryan Hastings' flyout to center. One out later, Hudson doubled to left, driving in Roof. After a pitching change, Snowden singled up the middle, scoring Hudson and giving Illinois its first lead of the game, 8-7.
That's when Illini closer Jake Toohey entered, attempting a two-inning save just one day after earning the save with 1 2/3 innings of work. With one out, Toohey allowed a hit and a walk but got consecutive flyouts to center to end the inning. Illinois stranded a runner at third in the seventh, but Toohey set the Wildcats down in order in the seventh for his fourth save of the year. He was bolstered by Nick Stockwell's defense in right in the final inning, as Stockwell made a running grab in the gap to prevent a lead-off double.
On the day, Snowden went 3-for-8 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs, and Hudson went 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs and an RBI. Rohde was 2-for-7 with a homer, three RBI, a run and two steals, and Roof went 2-for-6 with a double, an RBI, a run, a hit by pitch and a steal.
Up Next: Illinois looks for the series sweep over the Wildcats in the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. Freshman right-hander Billy Barrett will take the ball for the Illini, while freshman righty Cole Livermore will start for Northwestern.