Illini Lose Lead, Game to Sycamores, 6-4

Thomas Lindauer was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a steal on Tuesday.
Thomas Lindauer was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a steal on Tuesday.

April 24, 2012

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Illinois scored four runs in the top of the second but Indiana State pushed across three in the sixth and added an unearned run in the eighth to grab a 6-4 win at Bob Warn Field on Tuesday. Thomas Lindauer had two hits and an RBI, and Ronnie Muck struck out four in two innings of relief work.

"Tonight is disappointing because I felt like we beat ourselves," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We didn't pitch very well in a few situations and we didn't do a good job of tacking on runs once we had a lead. And we have to start doing a better job with fundamental plays because we made a lot of mistakes in situations that should be routine."

The Illini (22-18) went down in order in the first and Indiana State (32-10) posted a pair of runs on three singles - including two bunt base hits - an error and a run-scoring double play to go ahead 2-0 after an inning.

But Illinois battled back in the second, scoring four runs on three hits. Third baseman Brandon Hohl drew a leadoff walk and, one out later, DH Thomas Shelton singled to left-center, pushing Hohl to third. The pair then executed a beautiful delayed double-steal, allowing Hohl to score as the catcher's throw to second skipped into right-center, leaving Shelton safe on second with a stolen base. Second baseman Reid Roper walked and the runners moved up as catcher Kelly Norris-Jones was put out on a slow roller to the shortstop. Right fielder Davis Hendrickson then smacked a triple off the wall in right-center field, driving home both runners. Shortstop Thomas Lindauer then ripped a double off the third baseman's glove, driving home Hendrickson, pushing the Illini ahead, 4-2.

Illinois starter Josh Ferry worked into trouble once again in the second as he hit the first batter he faced before striking out the next. But he hit another batter and walked the next to load the bases. Ferry was able to induce a high chopper back to the mound, though, that he leapt and grabbed, then threw home to start the inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.

The Illini went down in order in the third and Matt Milroy came on in relief of Ferry. He gave up a leadoff single but struck out the next hitter and the runner was erased on a strikeout/caught-stealing double play, Illinois' third twin killing of the day. Milroy walked the next two hitters but coaxed a pop-up to Roper in shallow right for the third out.

After Illinois went three-up, three-down in the fourth, Milroy gave up a leadoff single in the bottom half before inducing a fly-out to Hendrickson. He walked the next hitter but registered a strikeout for the second out and coaxed a soft liner that Roper was able to field off a hop and take to the bag at second for out number three, keeping the Sycamores off the board.

Neither team scored in the fifth and Milroy struck out two Sycamores in the bottom half. In the sixth, Illinois went down in order and Milroy gave up a two-out base hit that drove in a run to bring ISU within 4-3. Luke Joyce relieved Milroy and walked the first hitter he faced before giving up a two-run double that gave the Sycamores a 5-4 lead.

The Illini looked to battle back in the seventh when Lindauer drew a walk with two outs, stole second and moved to third when the catcher's throw to second trickled into the outfield. Argo walked and stole second as well, but Indiana State brought in left-hander Reggie Hochstedler, who was able to strike out Justin Parr to keep Illinois off the board.

Ronnie Muck came on to pitch in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the side on just 13 pitches. But the Illini also went down in order in the eighth.

Indiana State added an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth when Muck issued consecutive two-out walks before inducing a line drive to left that went in and out of Justin Parr's glove, allowing a run to score and making ISU's lead 6-4.

Pinch hitter Will Krug singled with one out in the ninth but Hendrickson flew out to left-center for the second out. ISU brought in right-hander Devin Moore to face Lindauer, who lined a single through the left side. Argo sent a two-hopper to the left side that the third baseman gloved and threw to second, but Lindauer was safe and the ball ricocheted off the second baseman's glove and trickled a few feet toward left-center field. Seeing that, Krug attempted to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

Lindauer led the way at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, and RBI and a steal. Hendrickson drove in a pair with a triple and Argo was 1-for-3 with two walks and a steal. Shelton also went 1-for-4 with a steal and a run. On the mound, Muck allowed only one unearned run over two innings of hitless relief, walking two and striking out four.

Illinois returns to action on Friday when it travels to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern in a three-game Big Ten series. Game one begins at 3 p.m. at Rocky Miller Park.