Illini Stumble Against Redbirds, 4-1
April 20, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois fell behind 4-0 after four innings and couldn't battle back despite a late rally as Illinois State took a 4-1 win at Illinois Field on Tuesday. Shortstop Josh Parr was 1-for-3 with Illinois' lone RBI and the Illini bullpen posted four shutout innings of work as the Orange and Blue fell to 16-16 on the season.
"We had some back-to-back hits and they responded with some double plays," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We just have to keep looking for better pitches to hit."
ISU pushed across a run in the second after a leadoff single, a double, a fielder's choice rundown that allowed the two trail runners to advance to second and third, and an RBI groundout. Illinois looked to get the run back as DH Aaron Johnson singled sharply to center and moved to second on first baseman Mike Giller's sacrifice bunt. But third baseman Brandon Hohl smashed a liner above the third baseman's head, but he snared it and doubled Johnson off second to end the inning.
The Redbirds took advantage of three hit batters and an error on Illinois shortstop Josh Parr to score another run in the third, and Illinois State tacked on two runs in the fourth on consecutive solo home runs to go ahead 4-0.
ISU starter J.D. Learnard retired 12 consecutive Illini hitters from the end of the third inning through the first out of the seventh inning. Brian de la Torriente worked two shutout innings of relief in the sixth and seventh, allowing only one hit and one walk with one strikeout. In the bottom of the seventh with one out, Illini left fielder Casey McMurray roped a triple to right-center with one out but was stranded after consecutive groundouts to end the inning.
Reliever Billy Barrett came on for Brian de la Torriente in the eighth and worked around an error and a walk to post a scoreless inning after a strikeout and a bunt back to the mound ended the frame. Hohl and right fielder Craig Lutes drew consecutive walks to start the eighth but catcher Adam Davis hit into a double play. Parr picked the Illini up, though, with a first-pitch RBI single back through the middle to drive home Hohl and cut ISU's lead to 4-1. Center fielder Willie Argo walked and ISU brought in closer Kenny Long, who coaxed an inning-ending flyout to get out of the jam.
Corey Kimes relieved Barrett in the ninth and got a first-pitch flyout before giving up a double to left-center. He induced a grounder to Parr for the second out before allowing a walk. But he coaxed a grounder to Hohl, who stepped on the bag for the final out of the inning.
McMurray hit a sharp liner to start the bottom of the ninth, but it was right at the left fielder for the first out. Johnson grounded out to the third baseman and Giller bounced to the right side but reached when the pitcher's throw to first handcuffed the first baseman. But Hohl flied out to deep left-center as ISU left fielder Ty Wiesemeyer caught the ball on a dead run in the gap to end the game.
Illinois returns to action Wednesday against Eastern Illinois at Grimes Field at Peterson Park in Mattoon, Ill., at 6:30 p.m. Freshman Matt Milroy will start for the Illini while Mike Recchia will take the ball for the Panthers.