Parr Hits in Record 26th Straight as Illini Top Northwestern, 12-3
April 27, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - On a rain-soaked Saturday at Illinois Field, senior Justin Parr set an Illinois school record by extending his hitting streak to 26 games, as Illinois topped Northwestern, 12-3. Justin Parr legged out an infield single to lead off the third and added a three-run home run in the eighth to finish 2-for-4 with three RBI. Sophomore John Kravetz improved to 4-1 after turning in a quality start with only two earned runs and a career-high seven strikeouts over seven innings.
"It was fun to see Justin break the record," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "There is a certain amount of pressure that goes with that, so hopefully he can extend it, but now there won't be as much weighing on his mind. He did a very good job of handling all the different pressure and all the media attention."
After grounding out in his first at-bat, Justin Parr sent a slow chopper to the hole at short and beat out the infield single at the start of the third inning. The Chillicothe, Ill., native broke Ryan Snowden's previous record of 25 games, which was set six years ago in 2007.
"It felt pretty good to beat that out and get the record," Parr said. "I didn't hit it well, but I knew I was going to beat it out because of where it was at in the infield. It took a lot of pressure off and felt good. I am very blessed to be in this situation and just give all the glory to God."
Justin Parr has recorded a hit in every game starting with the doubleheader at Baylor on March 9 and has recorded multiple hits in half of the 26 games. He has tallied 13 games with one hit, eight games with two hits, two games with three hits and three games with four hits, which included a cycle. He has hit all of his career-high five home runs during the streak, including the three-run shot to put Illinois ahead 11-3 in the eighth.
"I felt a lot better after hitting that last ball out and the most important thing about today was going out and beating Northwestern," Parr said. "My focus has been to be as much of a team player as possible and to stay humble. I was trying not to think about it as much as possible."
Kravetz scattered 10 hits and worked out of a handful of jams by matching the most strikeouts by an Illini this season with seven. The Lansing, Ill., native threw 96 pitches with 56 for strikes and only walked one Wildcat. Redshirt-freshman Andrew Mamlic took over in the eighth, pitching the final two scoreless innings and tallying three strikeouts to get the Illini up to 10 for the game.
"John did a good job on the mound," Hartleb said. "He struggled the past few weekends and didn't look like himself, but today he got the job done. He threw quality pitches and got out of some tough spots. We needed to win today, so this was a good victory."
Illinois capitalized on five Northwestern errors and scored multiple runs in three innings on its way to reaching double-digit runs for the eighth time this season. UI scored three in the second on an RBI double by redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper and a muffed throw by the Wildcat first baseman that allowed two unearned runs to score on a grounder to short by junior Thomas Lindauer.
The Illini opened up an 8-1 lead after adding five runs in the fifth. Freshman Jason Goldstein plated Roper with an RBI single, and the Orange and Blue later loaded the bases with two outs. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr singled to left field and cleared the bases while scoring himself following a pair of Northwestern errors on the play.
After Justin Parr's home run in the eighth, senior Brandon Hohl got the fourth run of the inning and final run of the game across on an RBI double. Illinois tallied 14 hits, led by a 3-for-5 day from Lindauer. Jordan Parr extended his hitting streak to nine games after going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
Illinois improved to 25-13 and got back to .500 in the Big Ten at 7-7, while Northwestern dropped to 18-16 and 7-10 in the conference. The Illini and Wildcats will meet for the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Illinois will wear special stars and stripes jersey, which will be auctioned off during the game as part of the second-annual Honor and Serve Day at Illinois Field.