Craig Lutes doubled twice to lead Illinois to a 9-4 win in the completion of Friday's suspended game against Ohio State.
May 10, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Illinois put up two three-run innings and starter Kevin Manson picked up his fifth win in Big Ten play as the Illini held on for a 9-4 win over Ohio State in the completion of a game suspended because of heavy rain on Friday night. Five Illini collected two hits, led by outfielder Craig Lutes' pair of doubles. Mike Sterk tossed the final three innings for his third save of the year.
Ohio State took a one-run lead with a single tally in the bottom of the second after a lead-off double by left fielder Zach Hurley. A groundout moved him to third and a deep foul-out to right field brought him home for a 1-0 Buckeye margin.
But Illinois pushed across three runs in the third when left fielder Casey McMurray ripped a lead-off single to center and moved to second as Hudson reached when the OSU catcher couldn't field his bunt cleanly. Second baseman Joe Bonadonna beat out a bunt single when Buckeye third baseman Cory Rupert fielded his bunt but fell on the slippery grass to load the bases. Shortstop Brandon Wikoff laced an RBI single off OSU pitcher Jake Hale's foot and Hudson came home on catcher Aaron Johnson's sacrifice fly. DH Daniel Webb drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, pushing Illinois' lead to 3-1.
The Illini added three more in the fifth when Wikoff reached on a fielding error by the third baseman and moved to second when Johnson was hit by a pitch. Wikoff moved up a base on a flyout by Webb and Hastings brought him home with a double to left-center. Third baseman John Schlichter followed with a double past center fielder J.B. Shuck to drive in two, but Schlichter was put out at third trying to stretch it into a triple, leaving Illinois' margin at 6-1.
The Orange and Blue tacked on a run in the sixth, chasing Hale from the mound as Hudson reached with a one-out infield hit and moved to second when the shortstop's throw sailed out of play. He advanced to third on Bonadonna's groundout and scored on a wild pitch for a 7-1 lead.
Ohio State got a run back in the sixth when McMurray dropped a routine fly ball in left, then threw the ball into the Illini dugout as he attempted to cut down Shuck at second, allowing the Buckeye center fielder to move up to third. Shuck came across on a sacrifice fly, but Illini starter Kevin Manson worked out of the inning without any further damage and a 7-2 lead.
Illinois got two runners on base in the top of the seventh after a lead-off single by Hastings and a two-out walk to McMurray, but Hudson struck out and the rain intensified, chasing both teams into their dugouts as the tarp was unfurled onto the infield. After a 32-minute rain delay, the game was suspended to be finished at 12:05 p.m. (CT) on Saturday prior to the regularly scheduled doubleheader.
Reliever Mike Sterk came out to restart the suspended game and allowed a leadoff walk and base hit to the first two hitters he faced. But the next Buckeye batter bunted one back to the mound, allowing Sterk to throw out the lead runner at third. He then coaxed a foul pop-up to Johnson and a groundout to Wikoff to escape the ining.
Ohio State scratched across a run in the eighth on two walks and an RBI single, but Illinois tacked on two runs to its lead in the top of the ninth. Webb led off with a single but was picked off first and Hastings walked. One out later, left fielder Craig Lutes doubled off Shuck's glove to left-center, scoring Hastings, and new right fielder Nick Stockwell singled in Hastings for a 9-3 lead.
The Buckeyes came out fighting in the bottom of the ninth, stringing together a walk and three consecutive base hits with two outs, but Sterk induced a game-ending groundout to Hastings to wrap up his third save of the year as Illinois held on for a 9-4 win.