Illini Pound Out 14 Hits to Beat UIS, 10-4
April 26, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Shortstop Josh Parr drove in a career high-tying four runs and second baseman Pete Cappetta recorded three hits to lead Illinois to a 10-4 win over Illinois-Springfield at Illinois Field on Tuesday. Five Illini starters recorded multiple hits as the Orange and Blue used a five-run fifth inning to take control of the game and extend their winning streak to three games.
"We're swinging the bats better and that's good to see," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We hit some balls hard, we took advantage of some mistakes and anytime you knock out 14 hits, you've got a chance to win. It's good to see us put some wins together."
UIS (7-32 overall) grabbed an early lead on a two-run home run in the top of the second. But the Illini started chipping away in the fourth when first baseman Matt Dittman singled to left-center with one out and moved to third on right fielder Davis Hendrickson's two-out base hit up the middle. Parr then beat out an infield hit to drive home Dittman and cut the Prairie Stars' lead to 2-1.
Illinois (15-21) pulled ahead with a five-run fifth, capitalizing on two UIS errors. Cappetta knocked a leadoff single up the middle and stole second. One out later, third baseman Brandon Hohl singled up the middle, driving in Cappetta. Left fielder Casey McMurray walked and Dittman knocked a single to right, plating Hohl, and McMurray and Dittman both hustled all the way home when the ball rolled under the glove of the right fielder. Center fielder Willie Argo dropped a bunt single down the third-base line and the second baseman mis-handled Hendrickson's grounder, putting men on first and second. Argo stole third and Parr drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left, putting the Illini on top, 6-2.
The Prairie Stars got a run back in the sixth after a leadoff walk, a base hit to center, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly. But reliever Brian de la Torriente, who started the frame, induced an inning-ending double play to keep Illinois ahead, 6-3.
De la Torriente got in trouble in the seventh, allowing a pair of one-out singles, before Ronnie Muck took over, coaxing a pair of groundouts to get out of the jam.
The Orange and Blue tacked on three more runs in the seventh when Argo drew a two-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a balk. Hendrickson walked and Parr blasted a two-run double to left-center. Catcher Ryan Arrick then ripped a double down the left-field line, driving in Parr to push the Illini lead to 9-3.
UIS got a run in the eighth on a one-out single, a pair of steals and a base hit up the middle, but the Illini got the run back in the bottom half when Adam Davis blasted a leadoff pinch-hit home run off the scoreboard in left field to push the lead to 10-4.
Muck finished it with ease in the ninth, coaxing three groundouts on seven pitches to record his first career save.
Parr led the Illini offense, going 2-for-3 with a double, four RBIs and a run, and Cappetta went 3-for-5 with a double, a steal and a run. Argo was 2-for-3 with two steals and two runs, Dittman was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs, and Hendrickson went 2-for-3 with a run, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games.
Milroy allowed only two runs on four hits and a walk over five innings of work, striking out a career high-tying five batters. Muck worked 2 2/3 innings of relief to close out the game, giving up one run on two hits while striking out one.
The Illini finish their longest home-stand of the season on Wednesday when they host Bradley. Senior right-hander Bill Barrett will take the hill for Illinois, while the Braves will send senior left-hander Eric Holmes to the mound. The game will be streamed live on FightingIllini.com.