Illini Drop Final Mid-Week Contest to SIU, 7-3

Jordan Parr hit his fourth homer of the year, a three-run bomb, in Tuesday's defeat.
Jordan Parr hit his fourth homer of the year, a three-run bomb, in Tuesday's defeat.

May 1, 2012

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Postgame Interviews: Coach Hartleb | Jordan Parr

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sophomore Jordan Parr blasted a three-run homer in the sixth to give the Illini a 3-2 lead, but Southern Illinois scored five runs in the final two innings to grab a 7-3 win at Illinois Field on Tuesday, salvaging one game of the three-game season series between the teams. The Salukis took advantage of two doubles and two home runs in the final two frames as SIU out-hit the Illini 10-6 on the night.

"We didn't play well in any aspect," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We hung in the game early, but we didn't pitch well. We had numerous base runners on each inning but we found a way to get out of those situations. I didn't think we were sharp defensively, either. We were out-hit, out-pitched and they played better defensively, so it's hard to win when that happens."

Brian de la Torriente worked around a two-out single and a walk in the first to post a scoreless frame, then the Illini (25-19) went down in order in the bottom half. In the second, SIU (25-20) first baseman Derek Trovillion smacked a leadoff double to left-center and de la Torriente walked two hitters to load the bases. But he induced a grounder to shortstop Thomas Lindauer, who shoveled to second baseman Reid Roper for the third out to keep the Salukis scoreless.

In the third, Nick Chmielewski relieved de la Torriente. SIU third baseman Austin Montgomery reached on a throwing error by third baseman Brandon Hohl and advanced to second as the ball got to the side fence. Montgomery moved up to third on a deep fly-out to right and the next hitter lined out to left fielder Justin Parr, but Parr nailed Montgomery at home to complete the inning-ending double play and keep SIU off the board.

Catcher Kelly Norris-Jones drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the third and stole second but was stranded there when Lindauer flew out to end the inning.

Chmielewski walked the first two hitters he faced in the fourth before striking out a hitter and inducing a grounder to Roper that was ruled runner interference, completing the 4-6-3 double play to keep the Salukis off the board. Justin Parr drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth and Hohl singled up the middle to break up SIU starter Nathan Dorris' no-hitter, but they were stranded there after a strikeout and a groundout.

In the fifth, Bryan Roberts entered in the fifth in only his third appearance of the season and allowed a leadoff home run as SIU took a 1-0 lead. He settled down, though, retiring the next three hitters in order. Right fielder Davis Hendrickson knocked a two-out single in the bottom half and stole second, but he was left there after a strikeout ended the inning.

Will Strack came on to pitch the sixth, also just his third appearance on the year, and walked the first two hitters he faced, giving way to Josh Ferry. Ferry fielded a sacrifice bunt from the first hitter he faced but walked the next to load the bases. SIU center fielder Rennie Troggio looped one just over second base that Roper went back on but couldn't catch. He was able to record the out at second on the force play, but a run scored. Ferry finally wriggled out of the inning by inducing a sharp liner to Justin Parr in left for the third out.

The Illini finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth as center fielder Willie Argo drew a leadoff walk and Justin Parr singled over the first baseman's head. After a strikeout, Jordan Parr stroked an opposite-field, three-run home run, his fourth of the season, to put the Illini ahead 3-2. Roper walked after a pitching change but pinch hitter Thomas Shelton grounded into an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.

In the seventh, Ferry hit the first batter he faced and gave up a single before inducing a fly-out to Argo in right-center and an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play, the third twin killing of the night. Norris-Jones drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh and Hendrickson singled through the right side to put men on first and second. But Norris-Jones was caught stealing third for the first out on an apparent missed bunt sign. Lindauer flew out to center, which appeared to move Hendrickson to third, but he was called out at second on appeal for the inning's third out.

Luke Joyce came on to pitch the eighth and recorded an out before giving up back-to-back doubles that scored a run. Ronnie Muck relieved him and gave up a single that put men on the corners before the Illini tried to turn a 6-4-3 double play on a fairly slowly hit grounder to Lindauer, but the runner was ruled safe at first and a run scored. The man at first stole second and Norris-Jones' throw sailed into the outfield, but Argo threw out the runner at third when he tried to advance as SIU took a 4-3 lead.

Justin Parr lashed a single through the left side with one out in the eighth but he was stranded there. Muck stayed in for the ninth and gave up back-to-back home runs to start the inning, then walked a hitter. Anthony Milazzo relieved him and gave up a stolen base before inducing a pair of infield pop-ups. But SIU catcher Dustin Huff dropped a bloop single into center that pushed across another run for a 7-3 lead. Illinois couldn't mount a rally in the bottom of the ninth and fell by that score.

Offensively, Justin Parr was 2-for-3 with a run and Jordan Parr went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer. Hendrickson was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and Brandon Hohl had Illinois' lone other hit on the night. De la Torriente, Chmielewski and Ferry each pitched two scoreless innings.

Illinois returns to action on Friday when it hosts Michigan State at 6:05 p.m. for the fourth-annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with free admission and parking, a free meal consisting of a hot dog, chips and a bottled water, inflatable games for kids and postgame fireworks. Junior right-hander Kevin Johnson will get the ball for the Illini, while the Spartans will send right-handed senior Tony Bucciferro to the hill.