Pete Cappetta led the Illini offense on the weekend, hitting .444 wiht two doubles, an RBI and three runs.
April 17, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Illinois battled back from a first-game loss to Michigan in Sunday's doubleheader to lead by two, but the Wolverines scored four in the bottom of the seventh and held on to sweep the Illini by scores of 3-0 and 7-6 at the Wilpon Baseball Complex. Pete Cappetta went 3-for-7 with two steals and Adam Davis was 3-for-8 with two steals in the doubleheader as Illinois falls to 12-19 overall, 4-5 in the Big Ten.
"We beat ourselves today in a lot of areas," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We haven't been smart on the base-paths recently and we gave up crucial outs. We didn't make smart pitches in a few situations and we didn't field our position a couple of times on bunt plays."
Michigan (11-23, 4-5) got on the board first in game one with a solo homer by DH Coley Crank to lead off the bottom of the second. But Illini starter John Anderson bounced back with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts to third baseman Brandon Hohl to end the inning with the Wolverines leading 1-0.
The Maize and Blue scored a run in the fourth when Anderson gave up two base hits sandwiched around a walk with two outs. Center fielder Willie Argo's throw to the plate was high, but Anderson backed up the play and fired a strike to Hohl to retire Michigan left fielder Alex Lakatos, who tried to move up on the third, for the inning's final out as the Wolverines increased their lead to 2-0.
Michigan tacked on a run in the sixth after a leadoff bunt single by center fielder Patrick Biondi, who was sacrificed to second. After a stellar back-handed play by Hohl for the second out, Crank singled to left to drive in a run and push the Wolverines' lead to 3-0.
The Maize and Blue got two men on with just one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Anderson induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and keep the Illini within 3-0.
Right fielder Davis Hendrickson lined a leadoff single to right-center in the eighth and stole second. But a strikeout, a groundout to third and a fly-out stranded him as Michigan held onto its 3-0 lead. The Illini weren't able to get anything going offensively in the ninth and they fell by that score.
In game two, Cappetta ripped a leadoff double to left-center and moved to third as left fielder Casey McMurray reached on a fielding error by shortstop Anthony Toth. Catcher Adam Davis then hit a bouncer up the middle that the second baseman gloved but threw in the dirt off his knees, allowing Davis to reach safely and Cappetta to score for a 1-0 lead.
Michigan responded with a run in the bottom of the first on three hits - two of them bunt singles, including a suicide squeeze - to tie the game at 1. But Illinois put two on the board in the second when Argo drew a leadoff walk and stole second. He moved to third when the shortstop couldn't hold onto the throw and Hendrickson drove him in with a double to right-center. Shortstop Josh Parr, making his first start since hyper-extending his knee prior to the Iowa game on April 8, sacrificed Hendrickson to third and Cappetta brought him in with a sacrifice fly, pushing the Illini on top, 3-1.
The Wolverines fought back in the bottom of the second, though, after a two-out infield hit and a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners up a station and Hohl made a nice play to his left to glove a two-hopper by second baseman Kevin Krantz, but Hohl's throw was wide of first, allowing both runners to score and tying the game 3-3.
After Illini starter Corey Kimes posted three consecutive scoreless frames in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Illinois bats came to life in the sixth against Michigan reliever Ben Ballantine, who entered the game in the third. Davis knocked a one-out double down the right-field line and first baseman Matt Dittman banged a double off the wall in left to drive him home. Argo moved him to third with a groundout to second base and Dittman came home when Wolverine third baseman John Lorenz' throw was low on Hendrickson's bunt attempt, putting the Illini up 5-3.
But Michigan battled back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs on five hits, including a two-run double down the left-field line by right fielder Michael O'Neill, to take a 7-5 lead. Illinois looked to have something brewing in the top of the eighth when Davis singled up the middle and stole second as Dittman struck out. Argo singled to right-center, but it hung up long enough that Davis had to hold at second and only advanced one base. Hendrickson lifted a fly ball deep enough to center that it looked like Davis could tag and score, but Argo had taken off on the pitch and couldn't make it back in time as center fielder Patrick Biondi threw a laser to first to double him off and keep the Illini scoreless in the inning.
Reliever Chris Pack worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth, giving the Illini one more chance in the ninth inning. Josh Parr drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Cappetta walked and Justin Parr sacrificed the runners up a base. McMurray lined a base hit into shallow left-center, driving home Josh Parr, but he was caught trying to stretch the single into a double for the second out. Hohl then worked the count 1-2 before popping up to Lorenz to end the game as Michigan won, 7-6.
Cappetta went 3-for-7 with a double, an RBI, a run and two stolen bases on the day to lead the offense. Davis was 3-for-8 with a double, an RBI, a run and two steals, and Justin Parr went 2-for-7. Hendrickson also was 2-for-7 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
The Illini return to action Tuesday when they travel to Illinois State for a 4:30 p.m. start at Duffy Bass Field, an earlier start time than originally announced. Illinois then hosts Eastern Illinois on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.