Illini to Battle Mizzou at Busch Stadium on Tuesday
April 1, 2013
Braggin' Rights at Busch Stadium
Pitching Matchup: Illinois will have left-hander Rob McDonnell start for the first time since Feb. 25, 2012. He was shut down last season after that start against Gonzaga due to arm soreness, but is back in the bullpen this year. The Barrington, Ill., native is 0-1 with a 1.42 ERA in four appearances and will square off against right-hander Jace James (2-0, 1.05 ERA).
Series History vs. Mizzou: Illinois has played Missouri 23 times in school history, as the Tigers hold a 13-9-1 advantage in the all-time series and have won the last six meetings. Before the two recent games at Busch Stadium, the teams met in 2005 at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Mo., rekindling a series that had been dormant since 1998. They played again in 2006 at T.R. Hughest Ballpark, which is the home of the Frontier League's River City Rascals, before playing the 2007 game at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., home to the Frontier League's Gateway Grizzlies. All four games were wooden-bat contests. Illinois' last win against Missouri came on March 9, 1988.
Notes on the Tigers: Missouri was swept over the weekend by LSU and sits at 9-15 overall and 2-7 in the SEC. The Tigers started the season on a six-game losing streak and had their series against Northwestern snowed out. Mizzou rebounded by winning five of six before entering conference play.
Team Notes on the Illini
First in Steals: The Illini are currently first in the Big Ten with 54 stolen bases in 61 attempts. David Kerian leads the team and is tied for second in the Big Ten with 12 stolen bases. Justin and Jordan Parr are tied for second on the team with nine SBs, while Will Krug has seven. Ten different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have only been caught stealing seven times, which is tied for the second lowest mark in the Big Ten.
Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 9-2 when scoring in the first inning and 14-2 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 21-7 in the first frame and 22-3 in the second inning, which is Illinois' highest scoring inning. The Orange and Blue have scored double-digit runs in all but the ninth inning (8) and rank second in the Big Ten with 153 runs and 139 RBI on the year.
Illini Player Notes
Johnson Throws 3rd CG Shutout, Nears IP Record: In his last start, senior Kevin Johnson needed just 79 pitches to earn his third career complete-game shutout in Illinois' 4-0 victory over Oakland (3/29) in which he only allowed three hits. He threw fewer than 10 pitches in six different innings and never threw more than 14 pitches in one inning (pitches by inning: 8-9-6-11-6-5-11-9-14). The senior is one of four pitchers in school history to throw 300-plus innings with 314.2 and only trails Mark Dressen (328.2) and Brett Weber (315.2) on the all-time list. He is in his third season as Illinois' No. 1 starter and leads the staff with a 4-1 record and 1.89 ERA. The Midlothian, Ill., native has not missed a start in his career and owns the most starts on the current Illini staff with 50. His 34 strikeouts in 2013 are tied for fourth in the Big Ten, while his 198 career strikeouts are ranked fifth on the Illini all-time list.
Parrs Driving Illini Home: Twin brothers Justin and Jordan Parr are both back for the second-straight season and rank third (28) and fifth (22), respectively, in RBI in the Big Ten. Left-handed Justin (42-for-104) and right-handed Jordan (27-for-94) are hitting .348 combined (69-for-198) as the No. 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup. Jordan's four home runs and Justin's 42 hits are tied for second in the conference. Justin (.548) and Jordan (.479) are sixth and 12th, respectively, in slugging percentage in the Big Ten.
Power Surge for Lindauer: Junior Thomas Lindauer has hit all four home runs in his career this season. He is tied with Jordan Parr for the team-lead in home runs after hitting a solo shot in each game of the doubleheader against Oakland. He is tied for second in the Big Ten in home runs and seventh in the conference with 20 RBI, which ranks third on the Illini.
Resilient Roberts Returns: Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts, the oldest player on the Illini, has three wins & a save in four appearances on the season thanks to allowing 0 ER in 6.1 innings pitched. He notched the Orange and Blue's first Big Ten win this season against Nebraska and picked up back-to-back wins at Southern Illinois, marking his first victories in nearly three years after redshirting the 2011 season following tommy john surgery and making only three appearances in 2012 due to arm trouble. He also collected his first save since May 8, 2010 after 1.2 scoreless innings vs. Oakland (3/30) and now has 10 career saves, which is ranked seventh in school history.
The Lisle, Ill., native made his first trip of the season to SIU and won the final two games against the Salukis thanks to 2.2 perfect innings and five strikeouts out of the bullpen while also sending both contests to extra innings. Roberts notched his first win since May 1, 2010 after entering his first game of the season with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 4-4 against SIU (3/16). He recorded a strikeout on five pitches to force extra innings, where the Illini won it 7-5 in the 10th inning. He picked up a second-straight victory against SIU (3/18) after again entering the game with the bases loaded in the seventh and getting a key strikeout followed by pitching a perfect eighth and ninth inning to force extras, where the Illini won it 2-1 in the 10th inning. He followed that performance with two scoreless innings in Illinois' 8-7 walk-off win over the Cornhuskers in game one of a doubleheader and improved to 3-0 on the year.
Hard to Hit Kravetz: Sophomore John Kravetz carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning vs. Oakland and improved to 3-0 after allowing three hits and two runs in 7.1 innings of work. He picked up his second win of the year in the second game of the doubleheader at Baylor, where he equaled a career high with 8 innings pitched and allowed only one run and three hits, which is tied for the fewest by an Illini starter this year. The Lansing, Ill., native has only allowed two extra-base hits in six starts and 37.2 IP. He is ranked seventh in the Big Ten in opponent batting average (.225) and 11th in hits allowed (31).
Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .315 (92-for-292) with two outs in an inning and led by sophomore David Kerian, who is 13-for-26 (.500) when faced with the situation. The Illini have 62 two-out RBI, meaning 45 percent (62-of-139) of their RBI have come with two outs. Justin Parr leads the team with 11 two-out RBI, while Thomas Lindauer also is in double figures with 10 RBI. Four other players are hitting .375 or higher with two outs: Michael Hurwitz (.393), Justin Parr (.381) and Will Krug/Jordan Parr (.375).