Freshman Kevin Duchene notched the most strikeouts by an Illini starter this season with a career-high seven in just 3.2 innings of work.
April 16, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Four Illinois pitchers combined for a season-high 14 strikeouts and matched a season-low with three hits, as the Illini run-ruled ISU, 12-1, in eight innings on Tuesday night. UI scored five runs in the fourth and took advantage of five ISU errors on its way to a fourth consecutive victory to improve to 23-10 overall. Every Illini starter recorded a hit, helping Illinois reach double figures in the category for the fourth straight game with 13 hits.
"We played extremely well in all facets of the game," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We put pressure on them from an offensive standpoint, and they made a couple mistakes. We came up with the big hits to break it open late."
Freshman Kevin Duchene notched the most strikeouts by an Illini starter this season with a career-high seven in just 3.2 innings of work. He had four walks, gave up a run and two hits, and picked up the win to improve to 6-1 on the year. His six victories are tied for the second-most wins ever by an Illini freshman, trailing only John Kravetz's eight from last season.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth and the Illini leading 5-1, redshirt-sophomore Drasen Johnson relieved Duchene and ended the inning with a strikeout. The Chillicothe, Ill., native followed it up with a perfect fifth, while freshman J.D. Nielsen tallied three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Freshman Tyler Jay took over on the mound in the eighth and struck out the side, ending the game with Illinois ahead by 11 runs.
"Our bullpen was outstanding," Hartleb said. "Drasen kept the ball down in the zone, J.D. had his best outing and Tyler had it working to get all three strikeouts."
Illinois came up empty in the first three innings before notching five runs on three hits and a pair of errors in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz reached with a leadoff walk, and the Illini loaded the bases with back-to-back bunt singles by the Parr brothers. Senior Brandon Hohl hit a chopper to third that was misplayed by the Redbirds, allowing Hurwitz to score from third and Justin Parr all the way from second thanks to heads-up base running.
With his bunt single, Justin Parr extended his hitting streak to 21 games, which now ranks as the longest active one in the NCAA and third in school history behind Tom Sinak (23) and Ryan Snowden (25). After finishing 2-for-4, he also boosted his average to .440, which moved him up to No. 2 in the nation.
The Illini's final three runs in the fifth came on an RBI single from David Kerian and a pair of RBI groundouts from senior Davis Hendrickson and redshirt-sophomore Kelly Norris-Jones, who also added a run in the sixth on an RBI double.
In the seventh, redshirt-junior Jordan Parr walked, stole second and advanced to third on the ISU catcher's throwing error before crossing home on another throwing error by the catcher. Redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper motored to his first triple of the year, plating Hohl, while Hendrickson followed it up with an RBI double.
Junior Thomas Lindauer led off the eighth with a single and scored on Hohl's two-run double that also brought home Justin Parr. Jordan Parr scored for the third time on a pinch-hit RBI single by freshman Ryan Nagle, which wrapped up the scoring at Duffy Bass Field.
Up Next: Illinois will head to Columbus, Ohio, this weekend for a three-game series against Ohio State from April 19-21.