Craig Lutes went 2-for-3 to lead the Illini offense on Sunday.
April 18, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois gave up a six-run seventh inning as Michigan took an 11-4 win to earn a series victory at Illinois Field on Sunday. Catcher Aaron Johnson and right fielder Craig Lutes each went 2-for-3, but the Illini made two errors in the seventh inning and five in the game to drop to 16-15 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten.
"For us to win, top to bottom we all have to do our best," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb. "We didn't do that today and it showed. Their bullpen came in and shut us down, and ours couldn't get an out. It's hard to win games like that."
Michigan scored single runs in each of the first three innings, taking advantage of three walks, a hit batter, three hits and an Illini error to take a 3-0 lead.
But the Illini battled back in the bottom of the third when first baseman reached on a fielding error by Michigan second baseman Anthony Toth. DH Casey McMurray was hit by a pitch and catcher Aaron Johnson flied out to center, moving Giller to third. McMurray stole second and third baseman Brandon Hohl smacked a single up the middle, bringing home two runs. Right fielder Craig Lutes knocked a base hit up the middle on the first pitch he saw. Left fielder Pete Cappetta ripped a single through the left side, Hohl was waved around third and he made a nice hook slide around the catcher to tie the game 3-3. Michigan went to the bullpen and brought in their closer, Tyler Burgoon, who hit second baseman Christian Cummins on a 2-2 count to load the bases, but Cummins was picked off first to end the inning.
Illini starter Lee Zerrusen settled down after the third inning, giving up a leadoff single in the fourth before putting out the lead runner on a bouncer back to the mound. He allowed another hit but coaxed a flyout from Toth and got a soft liner from Michigan right fielder Ryan LaMarre to end the inning.
In the fifth, Zerrusen allowed a leadoff walk before inducing a foul pop-up to Giller and striking out the next two hitters to end the frame. Johnson ripped a double to left-center with one out in the bottom of the fifth, but Hohl struck out, Lutes was walked intentionally and Cappetta struck out looking to thwart the rally.
Zerrusen coaxed a flyout to Willie Argo in center to start the sixth before Hohl misplayed a grounder. The next hitter sacrificed the runner to second but Zerrusen got Toth to fly out to Argo to end the threat.
But Michigan posted six runs, five unearned, in the seventh on five hits, an error, a hit batter and a catcher's interference to take a 9-3 lead. The Wolverines posted two runs in the ninth on a single up the middle, a double down the left-field line and a single through the left side to go up 11-3. Illinois got a run in the bottom of the ninth when Argo was hit by the pitch and moved to second on Giller's groundout to second. Argo advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on pinch hitter Bill Charvat's groundout to second, making the score 11-4. Johnson walked but Hohl grounded out to the shortstop to end the game.
In addition to Lutes and Johnson, Hohl drove in two and Cappetta was 1-for-3 with an RBI. For the series, Johnson went 5-for-10 with a double and a homer, and Lutes hit .444 (4-for-9) with two walks. Cappetta hit .400 (4-for-10) with the weekend with an RBI and a run, and Cummins hit .300 (3-for-10) with a double and a run.
The Illini return to action on Tuesday when they host Illinois State at 6 p.m. before traveling to Mattoon, Ill., to take on Eastern Illinois at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.