Illini Falter in 8-2 Loss to Purdue
May 14, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois scored a run on a pair of hits in the bottom of the first but couldn't manage another hit until the eighth inning as Purdue starter Matt Bischoff retired 23 straight Illini hitters to pitch the Boilers to an 8-2 win at Illinois Field on Friday. Shortstop Josh Parr had an RBI triple in the eighth and right fielder Craig Lutes had an RBI single in the first as the Orange and Blue fell to 23-23 on the year, 8-11 in the Big Ten.
"It was just one of those games where the other team's starter is on top of his game," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We have to put tonight behind us and try to get a win tomorrow."
After starting pitcher Lee Zerrusen posted a 1-2-3 inning to start the game, the Illini offense got going quickly in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Willie Argo singled up the middle and stole second before right fielder Craig Lutes pulled a single through the right side to drive him in for a 1-0 lead.
Purdue tied the game in the fourth after it loaded the bases with no outs, sandwiching two singles around a walk. But Zerrusen battled back, coaxing a pop-up before giving up an RBI fielder's choice to Parr. He induced another grounder to Parr to get out of the jam with the score tied 1-1.
The Boilers got to Zerrusen in the sixth, scoring four runs to chase him from the game. He gave up a leadoff single but got the next hitter to bounce back to the mound. But Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki smacked a 1-0 offering to the opposite field for a two-run homer. Zerrusen hit the next batter and gave up a double to put runners on second and third. An outside pitch bounced off the tip of catcher Aaron Johnson's glove and the runner slid in just under Zerrusen's tag. The next hitter singled through the right side, driving in a run and putting Purdue up 5-1.
The Boilermakers added three in the top of the eighth after an apparent inning-ending grounder to Parr squirted out of first baseman Mike Giller's glove to allow a run to score from second. The next batter smacked an 0-1 pitch to the left-field corner for a two-run double, pushing the Boiler lead to 8-1.
The Illini drew a run closer in the bottom of the eighth when second baseman Christian Cummins singled off the glove of diving Boiler third baseman Cameron Perkins and Parr ripped a triple off the wall in right-center to plate him, bringing the Illini within 8-2. Johnson and Giller knocked back-to-back two-out singles in the bottom of the ninth but third baseman Brandon Hohl grounded to first base to end the game.
Illinois and Purdue return for game two of the series Saturday at 6 p.m. and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. Right-hander Kevin Johnson will start the game for the Illini, while lefty Calvin Gunter will take the ball for the Boilers.