Parr Keeps Streak Alive But Illini Fall to MSU, 12-3

Sophomore Michael Hurwitz was the only Illini to record multiple hits by going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Sophomore Michael Hurwitz was the only Illini to record multiple hits by going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

May 3, 2013

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - In his final at-bat in the eighth inning, senior Justin Parr sent an RBI single to center field, extending his school-record hitting streak to 29 games, but Illinois struggled on the mound at McLane Stadium, falling 12-3 to Michigan State. Parr, who owns the longest active streak in the nation, is one game shy of equaling the longest mark in 2013 by Oklahoma's Matt Oberste, who had a hit in each of the first 30 games for the Sooners.

"That was the worst we've pitched all year," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We threw a lot of balls over the middle of the plate, so we need to be much better on the mound the rest of the weekend."

The Spartans sprinted out of the gate with six runs in the first on a pair of home runs and a suicide squeeze. Blaise Salter, who finished 4-for-5 with four runs and four RBI, belted a three-run homer, and Joel Fisher, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI, sent a two-run shot over the wall in left center two batters later. After two more Spartan singles, Justin Hovis brought home the sixth run on a squeeze play.

Senior starter Kevin Johnson exited the game after the six-run first, which matched the shortest outing of his career, and fell to 6-3 on the year. He also was roughed up in his last time at McLane Stadium when he allowed eight runs in his only inning of work on April 23, 2010, during his freshman year.

Illinois scored a run in the second when redshirt-junior Jordan Parr extended his season-long hitting streak to 12 games with a single and eventually scored on a passed ball after stealing second and moving up to third on a fly out. MSU responded with a pair of two-out runs in the second off freshman Ryan Castellanos, who replaced Johnson.

The Illini plated their second run in the top of the third on an RBI single by sophomore Michael Hurwitz, who was the only Illini to record multiple hits by going 2-for-3. Castellanos tossed a scoreless bottom of the third before sophomore Rob McDonnell took over in the fourth. MSU took a 10-2 lead and knocked McDonnell out of the game after adding two more runs in the inning.

Milazzo relieved McDonnell and ended the fourth with a double play after walking a pair of Spartans. The Addison, Ill., native worked a quick fifth with another double play and a groundout but gave up a pair of solo home runs in the sixth, which were the final two runs for MSU.

Redshirt-freshman Charlie Naso was the fifth and final pitcher used by the Illini on Friday afternoon. He pitched two scoreless innings, tallying one strikeout and one walk.

The nine-run loss marks the largest defeat of the season for the Illini, who dropped to seventh place in the Big Ten at 8-8 and 27-14 overall. Michigan State remained in fifth place and improved to 8-5 in the conference and 25-13 overall.

Up Next: Illinois and Michigan State will meet for game two of the series on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Freshman Kevin Duchene will go up against MSU's David Garner on the mound.