Jordan Parr's 2 Home Runs, 7 RBI Propel Illini over SIU, 11-7
April 30, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr belted two home runs and racked up a career-high seven RBI, as the Illini scored four runs in the eighth and defeated Southern Illinois, 11-7. The Illini topped the Salukis for the fourth time this season, earning the season sweep and improving to 27-13 on the year. Redshirt-sophomore Drasen Johnson picked up his first win with 3.1 innings of relief and only allowed one run on windy Tuesday night at Illinois Field.
"It was really good to see that from Jordan tonight," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "He had been struggling earlier in the month, so it was good to see him break out of it. When we can get Jordan and Justin going along with the middle of the lineup, we are dangerous."
The first four Illini hitters each collected three hits and combined for nine runs and 10 RBI. In the bottom of the eighth, leadoff hitter Thomas Lindauer (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI) doubled home senior Davis Hendrickson, who reached on a dropped third strike, for the game-winning run. Sophomore Michael Hurwitz (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI) followed it up with an RBI single and advanced to second on a single by senior Justin Parr (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI). Back-to-back RBI doubles by Jordan Parr (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI) and senior Brandon Hohl knocked in the final two runs in the four run-frame.
The Parr twins are each on season-long hitting streaks, as Justin owns the longest active mark in the nation with a school-record 28 games, and Jordan has a hit in 11 games in a row. Justin bumped up his league-leading average to .436, which ranks second in the NCAA. Jordan matched the most RBI by an Illini since Chris Robinson had seven on April 26, 2005 (vs. Eastern Illinois), and he became the first Illini to hit two home runs in a game since Hohl did so against SIU last season (March 18, 2012). The last time an Illini had more than seven RBI was when Robinson collected eight on May 4, 2004 vs. MacMurray.
Southern Illinois grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first inning following a pair of two-run home runs, but the Illini overcame the deficit for their second-straight and 11th comeback win of the season. Freshman J.D. Nielsen, who made his first career start, settled down over the next two innings, retiring six of the next seven Salukis, and received a no decision after three innings of work.
After a scoreless second by both squads, Illinois posted its own four-run inning in the third. With one out and the bases loaded, Justin Parr sent a grounder to short and broke up the double play with his speed, earning an RBI on the fielder's choice. Three pitches later, Jordan Parr obliterated a three-run home run over the scoreboard and nearly to Kirby Avenue to tie it up 4-4.
Freshman Nick Blackburn took over on the mound in the fourth and worked a quick stanza with three fly outs. He recorded two more fly outs to start the fifth but gave up a two-out, two-run triple that put the Salukis in front 6-4. Johnson relieved Blackburn and finished the fifth with a fielder's choice.
The Illini weren't down for long, as Jordan Parr crushed his second three-run home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, vaulting UI back into the lead, 7-6. This bomb plated Hurwitz and Justin Parr, who singled and doubled, respectively, to start the inning.
Johnson worked a scoreless sixth before allowing a game-tying solo home run in the seventh, which evened it at seven apiece. He also worked a scoreless eighth, while junior Ronnie Muck pitched the ninth with a strikeout, single and 1-6-3 double play to end it.
In Illinois' previous three wins over SIU this season, it combined for 13 runs and 28 hits. The Illini came two runs shy of equaling that total and pounded out 16 hits. The two teams combined for five home runs on the night.
Up Next: Illinois will head to East Lansing, Mich., this weekend (May 3-5) for a three-game series against Michigan State. The Spartans are in fifth place in the Big Ten at 7-5, while the Illini are tied for sixth with Michigan at 8-7.