Senior Justin Parr coasted into third for a stand-up triple to complete the cycle during an eight-run eighth inning for the Illini.
April 14, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Justin Parr and the hot-hitting Illini offense made it a memorable Bleacher Bum Barbecue at Illinois Field on Sunday. Justin Parr hit for the cycle, notched four runs and four RBI and extended his career-high hitting streak to 20 games in Illinois' 17-6 victory over Purdue. The Illini matched their season-high for hits from Friday night with 20 and completed the sweep of the Boilermakers in front of 2,574 fans, the sixth-largest home crowd in school history.
"It was important to get a sweep this weekend in front of some great home crowds," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We were very patient at the plate and took advantage of a lot of pitches up in the zone. It was not an easy weekend to pitch with these winds, but we did a good job as a team."
Justin Parr becomes the first Illini to hit for the cycle in over four years since Brandon Wikoff did so against Bradley on April 7, 2009. The Chillicothe, Ill., native had an RBI double in the first, led off the third with a home run to right field, singled up the middle in the fifth and coasted into third for a stand-up triple on a hit to the gap in right center in the eighth. He leads the Big Ten with a .438 average and is five games shy of equaling Ryan Snowden's school-record hitting streak of 25 games from 2007.
"To hit for the cycle is one of the toughest feats in baseball," Hartleb said. "It was fun to see that today, especially in front of this type of crowd. Justin has been consistent for us all season and deserves the recognition he gets."
With Sunday's victory, Illinois swept its first Big Ten series at home since 2011 when it defeated Indiana in all three games from May 19-21 to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship. The Illini are now 5-4 in the Big Ten and 22-10 overall after racking up 50 hits and 40 runs over the weekend while hitting .420. The 40 runs is the most by an Illinois team in a three-game conference series since the Big Ten switched from the four-game series format to the current three-game series format in 2009.
The Illini belted four home runs on Sunday and finished with eight homers on the weekend, including three from redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper, who had one in each game. Senior Brandon Hohl had a two-run shot as part of a four-run first inning, while junior Thomas Lindauer hit his second dinger on the weekend with a solo bomb in the second and now leads the Big Ten with eight home runs. Justin Parr's home run in the third put Illinois up 6-0, and Roper capped off an eight-run eighth inning with a two-run homer that looked just like his game-winning shot from the day before.
Freshman Ryan Castellanos pitched six solid innings and won his second career start after allowing four earned runs. He ended the third with a 4-6-3 double play and escaped a bases-loaded jam with the same double play in the fifth to keep the Illini up 6-2 at the time. In relief of Castellanos, freshman Tyler Jay pitched a scoreless seventh, gave up a sac fly in the eighth and also escaped a bases-loaded situation with a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth.
"Ryan had outstanding composure on the mound today," Hartleb said. "We also played very well in the infield and had three big double plays."
Every Illini starter recorded a hit for the second time this weekend and eight Illini scored runs. Seven players turned in multi-hit performances, led by Justin Parr's 4-for-5 day. Roper finished 3-for-5 with four RBI, and Hohl scored three times, went 3-for-4 and had three RBI. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr also scored three times and went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI.
Up Next: Illinois will travel to Normal, Ill., for a 6 p.m. game against in-state foe Illinois State on Tuesday, April 16.