Right fielder Pete Cappetta smacked his first home run of the year and drove in three runs to lift the Illini to a 6-1 win over Western Michigan.
May 18, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and kept Western Michigan off the scoreboard until the seventh as the Illini wrapped up the home season with a 6-1 win over the Broncos on Tuesday at Illinois Field. Five pitchers combined to hold WMU to only four hits and right fielder Pete Cappetta went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs as Illinois improves to 25-24 on the season.
"Our pitchers did a good job of battling back after some early walks," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "Pete took a very good swing on that home run. He was just trying to move the runner and squared a ball up."
After starter Billy Barrett worked a clean third inning and reliever Tanner Libby needed only six pitches to retire the Broncos in the fourth, Illinois added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Shelton drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on Cappetta's groundout to shortstop and came home on a single through the left side by third baseman Brandon Hohl. Second baseman Christian Cummins was hit by a pitch and shortstop Josh Parr singled to right field. But the right fielder mishandled the ball off a bounce, allowing Hohl to come home and increase the Illini lead to 4-0.
Libby gave up a leadoff single in the fifth and a two-out walk before striking out WMU left fielder Jimmy Martinez for the final out of the inning.
The Illini added a run in the fifth after a leadoff triple to left-center by left fielder Casey McMurray. Catcher Aaron Johnson was hit by a pitch but he and Shelton were put out on a double play when it was ruled that Johnson obstructed the relay from the second baseman, meaning McMurray was sent back to third base. But Cappetta lined a single to left to bring him home and make the score 5-0.
Corey Kimes replaced Libby in the sixth and needed only 10 pitches to retire the side, inducing a pair of flyouts and a grounder to Parr to end the inning. Wes Braun came on in the seventh and gave up a run on three hits as WMU cut Illinois' lead to 5-1.
After Mike Sterk pitched a perfect eighth inning, the Illini got the run back in the bottom half. Cummins walked and stole second before advancing to third when the catcher's throw dribbled into center field. Parr then grounded out to the shortstop, driving home Cummins to make the score 6-1.
Sterk put the Broncos away on six pitches in the ninth, coaxing a pair of fly-outs and a groundout to Parr that the sophomore made a great throw from deep in the hole to end the game.
Cappetta went 2-for-4 with a homer, a steal and three RBIs, and McMurray was 2-for-3 with a triple and a run. Lutes went 2-for-5 with two steals and Shelton was 1-for-3 with two runs. Barrett earned his second win of the year with three no-hit innings and Libby pitched a pair of scoreless frames. Kimes had a scoreless inning and Sterk pitched two perfect innings to finish the game, throwing 15 strikes in his 18-pitch effort.
The Fighting Illini travel to Indiana for the final Big Ten series of the year, with the three-game set running Thursday through Saturday. Lee Zerrusen will take the ball on Thursday to face the Hoosiers in a 2 p.m. CT start.