Johnson Sets Career IP Record in 9-2 Win over OSU

Senior Kevin Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and grabbed the top spot in school history with 333 career innings pitched.
Senior Kevin Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and grabbed the top spot in school history with 333 career innings pitched.

April 19, 2013

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Senior Kevin Johnson set a school record, and senior Justin Parr's three-run triple put him closer to UI's hitting streak record in Illinois' 9-2 win over Ohio State on Friday night. Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and grabbed the top spot in school history with 333 career innings pitched. Senior Justin Parr extended his hitting streak to 22 games, as the Illini racked up double-digit hits (14) for their fifth win in a row and allowed their fewest hits on the year with two.

"Kevin was outstanding tonight," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He went through the first five innings in great fashion with no-hit baseball. He didn't overthrow at all and just went out and threw quality pitches. This record says a lot for him to go out in that lead role and pitch deep into ball games to give us a chance to win on Friday night. I am really happy for him."

With a groundout to second for the first out of the second inning, Johnson surpassed Mark Dressen's previous school-record mark of 328.2 career innings. The Midlothian, Ill., native has not missed a start in his career, tallying 53 total starts with 13 in 2010 (75.2 IP), 16 in 2011 (103 IP), 14 in 2012 (88.1 IP) and 10 thus far this season (66 IP). He has been the Illini's No. 1 starter for the past three years and earned his 20th career victory while improving to 6-2 in 2013, which is tied for the most wins in the Big Ten.

"It is definitely cool to have the record, but I am even happier that we got the win tonight," Johnson said. "It comes with a certain amount of luck with not getting injured, and I am very thankful to get where I'm at in my career. I am grateful for the opportunity I've had and being able to take advantage of it."

Johnson allowed two runs and two hits over 5.1 innings, while the Illini bullpen closed out the contest with a hitless 3.2 innings. With one out and the bases loaded in the sixth, redshirt-sophomore Drasen Johnson took over on the mound and escaped the jam with a strikeout and pop out to keep Illinois ahead 9-2. He pitched a perfect seventh with two more strikeouts, and freshman J.D. Nielsen and redshirt-freshman Charlie Naso each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the contest.

"I was really pleased with the bullpen," Hartleb said. "Drasen came into a tight spot and got out of a bases-loaded jam, which was the turning point of the game. They had a chance to get back into the game, but Drasen shut them down. J.D. and Chuck then were very good to finish off the game."

After three scoreless innings, senior Brandon Hohl got Illinois on the board with a two-run double to start a four-run fourth inning. Sophomore David Kerian knocked in Hohl with an RBI single, and redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper tripled home Kerian. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr matched a career-high with three hits, including an RBI single in the fifth to put the Orange and Blue up 5-0.

Freshman Jason Goldstein began a four-run, two-out rally in the sixth with an RBI single, which extended his hitting streak to 11 games. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, Justin Parr tripled to the right field corner and plated all three runners to make it 9-0 at Bill Davis Stadium. The Chillicothe, Ill., native boasts the longest active hitting streak in the NCAA at 22 games, which is three shy of Ryan Snowden's school record of 25.

Senior Davis Hendrickson also matched a career high by going 3-for-5, giving him multiple hits in each of the past four games and a five-game hitting streak. The Macomb, Ill., native also made an excellent diving catch to end the fifth and keep the Buckeyes hitless midway through the game.

Illinois was the only team to record a Big Ten win on Friday, as all four other series openers in the conference were postponed. Indiana recorded a non-conference win over Ball State. The Illini improved to 24-10 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten, which moves them into fifth place in the Big Ten ahead of Ohio State (23-13, 7-6). During the Illini's current five-game winning streak, they are averaging over 12 runs and 15 hits in each victory.

Up Next: Illinois will be back in action against the Buckeyes on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Sophomore John Kravetz will take the hill against OSU's Brad Goldberg.