Ben Reeser threw four shutout innings, scattering three hits and facing just one batter more than the minimum, in helping Illinois to an 8-0 win over Eastern Illinois.
April 24, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois starting pitcher Ben Reeser and relievers Scott Shaw and Jake Toohey combined for the Illini's third shutout of the season as the Orange and Blue whipped Eastern Illinois, 8-0, in front of 669 fans at Illinois Field. The Panthers had only four hits and managed to get just five balls out of the infield as Illinois pitchers faced only one hitter over the minimum thanks to three double plays. Six Illini recorded multiple-hit games, led by centerfielder Kyle Hudson's 3-for-3 effort with an RBI and a run.
"I thought our pitching was outstanding," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "Those are the things we're capable of doing and things we need to start doing on the weekends. We located down in the zone, changed speeds well, came inside on certain counts. I was very pleased with what our pitchers did tonight."
Illinois touched the scoreboard first with a run in the first inning. Leftfielder Ryan Snowden led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. Catcher Lars Davis then drove him in with a single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
The Illini got another in the second when DH Daniel Webb led off with a single but was thrown out trying to advance to third on a base hit through the right side by shortstop Shawn Roof. Roof moved to second on the play, though, and advanced to third on a flyout. Rightfielder Nick Stockwell was hit by a pitch and Hudson laced a first-pitch single through the left side to drive home Roof for a 2-0 advantage.
The Orange and Blue tacked on another in the fourth when Roof legged out a one-out infield single and moved to third on a base hit through the right side by second baseman Ryan Hastings. Roof then scored on a groundout, making the lead 3-0.
In the sixth, the Illini blew the game open with a five-spot. Webb led off with a single and moved to second on a bunt by Roof. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hastings' single to left. After an out, Hudson singled through the right side, moving Hastings to third. EIU changed pitchers, but the Illini kept hitting as Snowden drove in Hastings with a single up the middle and Wikoff walked. Davis then drove in Hudson and Snowden with a base hit through the left side and Rohde's bloop double to left plated Wikoff, putting Illinois up 8-0.
"Offensively we did a good job, putting up 15 hits and eight runs," Hartleb said. "We did a good job moving runners and hitting with two outs, so just a good baseball game for our side tonight."
Reeser pitched four shutout innings, giving up just three hits and no walks while striking out one. He faced one batter more than the minimum thanks to double plays in the first and second innings after EIU hitters singled. In all, Reeser recorded 10 groundball outs, one pop-up to shortstop and a strikeout.
Shaw was sharper in his four shutout innings of relief, giving up just one hit - a bunt single that died in the grass along the third-base line - and striking out two. He induced eight groundball outs, a bunt pop-up that drifted foul and a pop-up to first base. Toohey came on in the ninth and got Panther pinch-hitter Erik Huber, who was third nationally with a .454 batting average entering the night, to fly out to medium-depth left field, then struck out a batter and induced a flare pop-up to Dominic Altobelli at shortstop.
Eastern Illinois managed just one base-runner past first all night, stranding a runner at third after a lead-off hit, a fielding error on a snap throw by Davis to first and a groundout. But Reeser struck the next hitter out and induced a pop-up to Roof two steps onto the outfield grass to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard.
Offensively, Roof was 2-for-3 with two runs, Davis was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Hastings was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Webb was 2-for-4 with a run, Snowden went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, and Rohde had an RBI double.
Up Next: Illinois hosts Blackburn Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. before opening a weekend series with Minnesota Friday at 6 p.m. for the annual "Party in the Park," which features free admission for all fans and seventh-inning stretch fireworks.