Joe Bonadonna continued his torrid hitting of late, going a career-best 5-for-5 with four runs and three stolen bases, including a steal of home, in Illinois' 10-2 win over Western Illinois.
April 23, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Junior second baseman Joe Bonadonna racked up a career-high five hits, stole three bases and scored four times to lead the Illini to a 10-2 win over Western Illinois. Shortstop Brandon Wikoff also notched career highs with four hits and four RBIs as Illinois improved to 9-1 in mid-week non-conference games this season.
"Joe was a great spark plug for us tonight," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "He had an incredible game and he helped us score early and keep scoring throughout the game."
For the game, five Illini hitters recorded multiple-hit games, four scored at least twice and three drove in at least two runs. In addition, Illinois stole 6-of-7 bases, including two swipes of home plate.
The Orange and Blue scored twice in the first inning thanks to consecutive singles by Bonadonna and DH Mike Giller, putting runners at the corners. Wikoff drove in Bonadonna with a base hit, moving Giller to third. Wikoff then stole second, drawing a throw that allowed Giller to swipe home and make the score 2-0.
WIU got a run back in the third, but Illinois pushed another across in the bottom half when Bonadonna led off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on Giller's flyout then stole home nearly before the pitcher had released the ball, making the Illini lead 3-1.
The Illini tacked on another run in the fourth when first baseman Ryan Hastings led off with a base hit and right fielder Daniel Webb's single moved him to third. Catcher Aaron Johnson knocked another base hit to score Hastings for a 4-1 advantage.
The Leathernecks scored another run in the fifth, but Illinois put together a three-run frame when Bonadonna bunted his way on and moved to second on a balk. He stole third and, one out later, scored on Wikoff's base hit. Wikoff moved to second on a groundout and Hastings walked. Webb then laced a double into the left-field corner that drove in both runners, giving the Illini a 7-2 lead.
Illinois added a run in the seventh when Wikoff knocked a lead-off base hit and third baseman Dominic Altobelli walked. Wikoff moved up a base on Hastings' deep fly ball to right and Webb walked to load the bases. Johnson then drew an RBI walk to push the margin to 8-2.
The Fighting Illini tacked on two more runs in the eighth when Bonadonna recorded his fifth hit of the night with a lead-off double to the gap in left-center and moved to third on Giller's single through the right side. Giller advanced to second on the throw home that prevented Bonadonna from scoring, but both runners scored on Wikoff's single up the middle, making the score 10-2.
On the night, Wikoff went 4-for-5 with a stolen base, four RBIs and two runs, and Giller was 2-for-5 with two runs and a steal. Hastings went 2-for-3 with two runs and Webb was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Johnson was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
The Illini pitching staff continued to perform well in mid-week outings with starter Nick Chmielewski improving to 3-2 on the season by allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings, the longest outing of his career. Wes Braun threw a perfect 10-pitch sixth inning and Lee Zerrusen struck out two Leathernecks while allowing two hits and a walk in two shutout innings. Ben Reeser fired a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one and giving up one hit.
Up Next: The third-place Fighting Illini host fifth-place Penn State in a four-game weekend set beginning Friday at 6:05 p.m. It will be the first regular-season meeting between the teams since 2005 and first series at Illinois Field since 2004.