Daniel Webb went 3-for-4 in the series finale, finishing the weekend with a .467 average (7-for-15) and a .733 slugging average.
May 6, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Illinois fought back from an early deficit for a 2-1 lead, but No. 13 Michigan used a pair of four-run innings to salvage a series split with the Illini, winning 10-5. Illinois has now split or won every series with the Wolverines since 1991, former head coach Itch Jones' first year in Champaign. DH Daniel Webb was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI on the day, while first baseman Mike Rohde and second baseman Ryan Hastings each notched their second homers of the series.
"Any time you go on the road against a quality team and you battle and come out with two wins, you've done a decent job," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "But I'm a little disappointed because we had an opportunity to get another series win and we didn't do a very good job."
Michigan took an early lead with a run in the first, but Rohde tied the game with one swing of the bat in the second, smashing a 3-2 pitch from Chris Fetter over the wall in right-center field. The Illini kept it going after shortstop Shawn Roof reached on a fielder's choice that Webb was put out on after he had singled, then Roof stole second. After an out, leftfielder Joe Bonadonna doubled to the gap in right-center, driving in Roof giving the Illini a 2-1 lead.
But the Wolverines re-took the lead in the third after a one-out double by Jason Christian and an RBI triple by the next hitter, Eric Rose. First baseman Nate Recknagel then lifted a sacrifice fly down the right-field line that scored Rose. After consecutive walks, Illini starter Kevin Manson gave up a single up the middle that scored another run, chasing the right-hander with runners on first and second and two outs. Reliver Billy Barrett then gave up an infield hit to load the bases and a walk that forced in a run for a 6-2 Michigan lead.
The Wolverines added four more in the fifth off reliever Jonathan Smiley, who had recorded four straight outs at the beginning of his appearance. But Smiley was chased in the fifth as Ben Reeser came on to get the final out of the inning with the Illini now trailing 9-2. Michigan tacked on another run in the sixth for a 10-2 advantage.
"We were a stagnant team today," Hartleb said. "We didn't do anything extremely poor but we didn't do enough to beat a good team."
Illinois began chipping away in the late innings, as Hastings ripped his second homer of the series and sixth of the year in the seventh inning, a solo shot that made the score 10-3 in Michigan's favor.
The Illini put up a pair of runs off Michigan reliever Michael Powers in the eighth as third baseman Brandon Wikoff and catcher Lars Davis opened the inning with consecutive singles, pushing Wikoff to third. After an out, Webb doubled over the leftfielder's head, driving in Wikoff. Davis then scored on Roof's groundout, cutting the deficit to the final score of 10-5.
"If we show up in the right frame of mind over the next two weekends, we can put ourselves in a position to get into the tournament," Hartleb said. "We're a good enough team that once we get into postseason play, we can do some damage."
Up Next: The Illini take the week off for final exams before returning to action Friday against Indiana at Illinois Field. The teams begin the series with a 6:05 p.m. first pitch, play a doubleheader on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. and finish the four-game set with a 1:05 p.m. start on Sunday.