Illini Stumble, Drop Doubleheader to #18 Purdue
April 15, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After dropping the opening game of Sunday's doubleheader with No. 18 Purdue by a 4-1 margin, the Illini tied the nightcap at 3 in the eighth. But the Boilers scored two runs in the bottom half to pull out the 5-3 victory and sweep the series at Lambert Field. It marks the first time since 2008 that Illinois was swept in a Big Ten series and the first since 2003 in a road Big Ten series.
"This series came down to execution and we didn't execute very well all weekend," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We didn't give up a lot of runs on the mound and we pitched well enough to win in all three games. But we didn't take care of the little things at key points in the games and that really hurt us."
In Sunday's first game, left fielder Justin Parr laced a two-out double down the left-field line in the first, but he was stranded there. In the bottom half, Illini starter Kravetz worked a 1-2-3 inning, and second baseman Reid Roper crushed a two-out double in the second but he was left there when catcher Kelly Norris-Jones struck out.
Kravetz kept the Boilers (28-5 overall, 10-2 in the Big Ten) guessing in the bottom of the second, retiring them in order once again. After Purdue starter Lance Breedlove sat down the Illini 1-2-3 in the third, Kravetz gave up a two-out bloop single that landed just fair down the right-field line to Purdue left fielder Stephen Talbott. Talbott stole second but Kravetz coaxed a fly-out to center fielder Willie Argo to strand the runner and keep the game scoreless.
In the fourth, Parr drew a leadoff walk and, one out later, first baseman Jordan Parr ripped a single through the left side to put men at first and second. But a strikeout and a groundout kept the Illini off the board as Breedlove continued to dance out of trouble.
Kravetz continued to cruise in the fourth, retiring the first two hitters before allowing a two-out base hit to Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki. But he induced a foul-out to third baseman Brandon Hohl to end the inning and keep the Boilers off the scoreboard.
The Illini (18-16, 3-6) looked to have something brewing in the fifth when Norris-Jones drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a nice sacrifice bunt by DH Bill Charvat. But a deep fly-out and a slow-rolling groundout prevented the Illini from getting on the board.
Purdue touched up Kravetz for a run in the bottom of the fifth after a leadoff double over first base, a single through the left side and an RBI sacrifice bunt, pushing the Boilers ahead 1-0. Illinois got a one-out single from Hohl in the sixth and he moved to second on a groundout by Jordan Parr. But he was stranded there and Purdue held its lead.
The Boilers got a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth after a pair of singles started the inning and Kravetz loaded the bases by hitting a batter. He walked in a run and was relieved by Luke Joyce. Joyce struck out Angelo Cianfrocco, the first hitter he faced, but then forced in another run by walking shortstop David Miller. Joyce got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep the Boilers' lead to 3-0.
Illinois went down in order in the seventh then Joyce gave up a leadoff base hit. After an out, he balked the runner to second base and allowed a walk to second baseman Eric Charles. Ronnie Muck came on in relief and sandwiched a foul-out to Jordan Parr and a fly-out to right fielder Davis Hendrickson around a double steal to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.
After the Illini went down scoreless in the eighth, Purdue pushed across a run in the bottom half against reliever Anthony Milazzo thanks to a one-out double and a two-out RBI single, extending its lead to 4-0.
Illinois started to put together a rally in the ninth when Jordan Parr ripped a leadoff single to left and Hendrickson poked a base hit to left field as well. Roper slashed a single through the left side that drove home Parr for the Illini's first run of the series. But pinch hitter Thomas Shelton struck out and pinch hitter David Kerian grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game with Purdue taking a 4-1 win.
In the nightcap, Lindauer was hit by a pitch to start the game but was stranded at first base. The Boilers manufactured a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first after a leadoff single, an error, a sacrifice bunt, a walk, a wild pitch that allowed a run and a sacrifice fly to go ahead 2-0.
But the Illini battled back in the second when DH Thomas Shelton reached on a three-base error by Purdue center fielder Tyler Spillner and came home on shortstop Thomas Lindauer's RBI groundout, cutting the margin to 2-1.
Purdue got the run back in the third after a leadoff double, a balk and a wild pitch allowed the Boilers to extend their lead to 3-1. Illinois responded once more as Justin Parr smacked an opposite-field solo homer to start the fourth and bring the Illini within 3-2. His brother, Jordan, knocked a one-out double to right-center and moved to third on Hendrickson's groundout, but he was stranded there.
In the bottom of the fourth, starting pitcher Brian de la Torriente worked around a two-out bunt single to post a scoreless inning. The Illini went down in order in the fifth and de la Torriente got in a spot of trouble after a one-out single and a walk put runners at first and second. Hartleb went to the bullpen for Matt Milroy, who induced a first-pitch, inning-ending 6-4-3 double play by Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki to get out of the jam.
Milroy gave up a leadoff single in the sixth but the Lindauer erased the lead runner on a nifty play up the middle. A walk and a balk put the runners at second and third, but Roper gloved a sharp liner to his right for the third out, keeping the Illini within 3-2.
After the Illini went down in order in the seventh, Milroy returned the favor in the bottom half, striking out the first two hitters before coaxing a week dribbler down the first-base line that Milroy fielded and flipped to Jordan Parr for the third out.
In the eighth, pinch hitter Will Krug drew a leadoff walk and Shelton laid down a bunt in front of the plate, but Plawecki threw wildly to second attempting to put out Krug. The Illini freshman scampered to third on the play and came home on Lindauer's RBI single to right. Argo tried a fake bunt-slash approach but the shortstop was playing up the middle and fielded his grounder before stepping on second base for the second out. With men on the corners and one out, Justin Parr grounded into a 6-3 double play that killed the rally and left the Illini and Boilers tied at 3.
Purdue took advantage of a pair of a leadoff walks in the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice bunt and a groundout that moved the runner to third before a wild pitch by Milroy brought him home. After another walk, a wild pitch moved the runner to second and came home on an RBI single up the middle, posting the Boilers to a 5-3 lead. The Illini couldn't mount a rally in the ninth and fell by that score.
On the day, Justin Parr was 3-for-7 with an RBI and a run, and Jordan Parr went 3-for-8 with a run. Lindauer drove in two runs in the nightcap and Roper was 2-for-4 with an RBI in game one. Joyce pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief and Muck tossed a scoreless 2/3 of an inning in game one. De la Torriente allowed only one earned run over 4 1/3 innings in game two.
The Illini return to action on Tuesday when they host Illinois State at 6:05 p.m. Illinois faces Eastern Illinois in Mattoon, Ill., on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before hosting Ohio State in Big Ten action next weekend.