Parr Equals Record But Illini Fall to Northwestern in 13 Innings, 4-3
April 26, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In the longest game under head coach Dan Hartleb, senior Justin Parr equaled a school record by extending his hitting streak to 25 games and scored the tying run in the ninth, but Illinois fell 4-3 to Northwestern in 13 innings on Friday night. The Illini rallied twice, tying it up in the ninth and 10th to keep the marathon going, but gave up a solo home run in the 13th that proved to be the winning run for the Wildcats.
"We had opportunities tonight, but we didn't find a way to win a close game," Hartleb said. "We did a better job winning them early in the year, but we have lost four one-run games in the Big Ten and two have been in extra innings. That is something we have to be better at, so we need to win these close games."
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Parr led off the inning with a single up the middle for his first and only hit of the game, which gave him a base knock in 25 straight games to match Ryan Snowden's school record from 2007. Justin sped to second and beat the throw on a ball to the hole at short by redshirt-junior Jordan Parr. Senior Brandon Hohl sacrificed the Parr brothers into scoring position, and the Wildcats intentionally walked sophomore David Kerian to load the bases. Redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper sent a sacrifice fly to right field, which brought home Justin to go to extras.
Northwestern led off the 10th with a solo home run to right field, but Illinois rallied again in the bottom half and tied it on an RBI single by Jordan Parr, who knocked in junior Thomas Lindauer. After giving up the homer in the 10th, fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts tossed a scoreless 11th and 12th before trotting back out for the 13th. The Lisle, Ill., native gave up a one-out home run to left field and suffered his second loss in an extra-inning game after the Illini went down in order in the bottom half.
The Illini played their longest game since May 6, 2005, when they went 14 innings against Sam Houston State in a contest that ended in a 1-1 tie. Tonight's game lasted three hours and 27 minutes at Illinois Field, which also marked UI's longest game by time this year. The Orange and Blue are now 7-6 in one-run games and 3-2 in extra-inning games in 2013. Illinois sits at 24-13 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern improves to 18-15 and 7-9 in the conference.
Northwestern got the first run of the game on an RBI single in the first, while Illinois evened it up in the second on an RBI groundout out by Kerian that plated Jordan Parr, who walked and advanced to third on a single by senior Brandon Hohl. The game remained scoreless until the seventh when the Wildcats got an unearned run across on a passed ball. Jordan Parr prevented another run from scoring by throwing a frozen rope to get the final out of the inning at home.
Freshman Kevin Duchene picked up a no decision after his quality start, scattering five hits and striking out four over 6.2 innings. He was charged with two runs, but only one earned, and retired 16 of the final 19 batters he faced before being replaced by redshirt-sophomore Drasen Johnson on the mound. Junior Ronnie Muck came on in the eighth and stranded a runner at third by ringing up a pair of Wildcats before tossing a scoreless ninth.
"There were things we did well, but there were other things we could have done to win the game," Hartleb said. "We got very good starting pitching and were good out of the bullpen except for a couple mistakes."
Up Next: Illinois and Northwestern will meet for game two on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. A pair of sophomores will toe the rubber with Illini John Kravetz facing NU's Brandon Magallones.