Illini Fall to OSU, 12-7, Despite Ninth-Inning Rally
May 7, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth after a 30-minute rain delay, including a brief hailstorm, but Ohio State closer Josh Dezse struck out Illini first baseman Thomas Shelton to end the game with the bases loaded as the Buckeyes evened the weekend series with a 12-7 win at Illinois Field on Saturday. DH Justin Parr stayed hot, going 3-for-5 with an RBI infield hit in the ninth and left fielder Casey McMurray was 2-for-3 with two walks, two doubles and two runs.
Illinois slips to 19-24 overall, 9-8 in the Big Ten, with the loss, and falls to fifth place in the conference race. OSU improves to 21-20, 10-7, and is tied for second with Purdue and Minnesota after the Boilermakers lost to Michigan State and the Gophers beat Michigan.
"We didn't pitch or hit very well today, and that's going to lead to results like we had today," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We finally started getting some quality at bats around the seventh inning but it wasn't enough. We just have to come out and do our job tomorrow and try to win a series."
Illini starter John Anderson worked a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first and second baseman Pete Cappetta drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. After an out, catcher Adam Davis lifted a fly ball to right field on a hit-and-run play and Cappetta was doubled off first to end the inning.
OSU jumped on top in the second after Dezse - who started the game at first base - was hit by a pitch and third baseman matt Streng hammered the first pitch he saw over the fence in right field. Anderson gave up a base hit and wild pitch put the runner on second. After a pair of groundouts, he surrendered a double to shortstop Tyler Engle that put the Buckeyes on top 3-0.
The Scarlet and Gray tacked on three more in the third on a base hit, a hit batter and a three-run home run by Streng, this time on a 1-0 pitch. Anderson hit the next batter before inducing a fly-out and giving up a two-out base hit. But the lead runner was caught trying to move up on a pitch in the dirt that Davis blocked well and threw a strike to third base to end the frame with the Buckeyes up 6-0.
Anderson seemed to settle down in the fourth, working a 1-2-3 frame that required only eight pitches. But OSU second baseman Ryan Cypret tagged the first pitch he saw in the fifth for a homer to left and Dezses walked. Lee Zerrusen relieved Anderson and induced a pop-up to Davis before giving up a base hit. But he coaxed a double-play ball to Josh Parr at shortstop to end the inning with the Buckeyes up 7-0.
McMurray drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth and moved to second on a passed ball. But OSU starter Brett McKinney kept his no-hitter intact with a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a pop-up to Cypret at second.
Zerrusen issued a one-out walk in the sixth but struck out the next two hitters for a quick inning. But Illinois went down in order in the bottom half, still looking for its first hit of the game.
Zerrusen coaxed a fly-out from Cypret to start the seventh before walking Dezse on four pitches. He got Streng to fly out to right-center and induced an inning-ending groundout to third baseman Thomas Lindauer.
Justin Parr broke up McKinney's no-hitter with a first-pitch single up the middle to start the bottom of the seventh but was doubled off first when Davis flew out to right on a hit-and-run. McMurray followed with a double, though, and first baseman Matt Dittman doubled to center to drive him in and bring the Illini within 7-1.
But OSU hammered Zerrusen for five runs in the eighth on a two-run homer by Engle, a triple by center fielder Tim Wetzel, and RBI double by Cypret and a two-run double by Streng to go ahead 12-1.
The Buckeyes brought in reliever Theron Minium in the eighth and after an out, Josh Parr beat out a slow chopper to third and Lindauer singled to left. One out later, Justin Parr doubled to right-center, driving in his brother, to cut the margin to 12-2.
Bill Barrett, who relieved Zerrusen and finished the eighth, came back out for the ninth and got a pair of quick outs before walking a batter as the rain became increasingly stronger. Finally, with a 2-1 count on right fielder Brian DeLucia, the players were ordered off the field when the umpires saw lightning in the area. After a half-hour rain delay, which included a brief hailstorm featuring pea-sized hail, the teams retook the field and Barrett walked DeLucia. But he coaxed a liner to Davis Hendrickson in right to keep the Buckeyes scoreless.
OSU sent Brian Bobinski to the hill after the rain delay ended Minium's outing and he gave up a leadoff double to McMurray. A deep fly-out to left by Shelton moved McMurray up a base and center fielder Willie Argo walked. Right fielder Pat Sheehan hammered a two-run double to right-center and new third baseman Bill Charvat walked. Lindauer was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Cappetta drove in Sheehan with a base hit to left. The Buckeyes brought in reliever David Fathalikhani and Justin Parr hit a chopper to Dezse behind the bag at first. But Dezse was too slow to the bag as Parr beat out the infield hit that drove in Charvat. New catcher Ryan Arrick bounced back to the mound and Lindauer was put out at the plate for the second out. Cappetta scored on a wild pitch, bringing the Illini within 12-7, and McMurray walked on four pitches as OSU brought Dezse in to close it down. He threw three straight fastball strikes in the mid-90s, with Shelton fouling off the third. He missed outside with a breaking ball but blew a fastball past Shelton for the game-ending strikeout.
Justin Parr led the offense, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, and McMurray was 2-for-3 with two walks, two doubles and two runs. Sheehan had a two-run double and scored in the ninth and Dittman was 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Josh Parr went 1-for-3 with a run and Cappetta was 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run.
The Illini and Buckeyes square off in the rubber match of the series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Illinois will send left-hander Corey Kimes to the mound while OSU will give the ball to right-hander Greg Greve.