Illini Travel to Bloomington for Series at #16 Indiana
April 4, 2013
Big Ten Showdown at Indiana
Series History vs. Indiana: Illinois has won five of its last six games against Indiana. The Illini took two of three in Champaign in 2012 and swept the Hoosiers in 2011 to earn a share of the Big Ten championship. The 2011 series featured two walk-off home runs at Illinois Field, with a Friday night solo shot by former Illini Casey McMurray and a two-run bomb on Sunday by Matt Dittman. The two teams last met in Bloomington in 2010, where Indiana won the series 2-1.
Offensive Firepower: In the latest Big Ten statistical rankings, Indiana and Illinois are ranked 1-2 in nine offensive categories: average (.324-.300), slugging percentage (.468-.400), OBP (.411-.382), runs (204-159), hits (303-267), RBI (193-143), home runs (19-11), walks (115-109) and total bases (438-356).
A Look at Last Year: Illinois won the season series last year, 2-1, over Indiana. The Hoosiers bested the Illini in game one, 12-3, but the Illini bounced back by winning the final two games at Illinois Field by scores of 7-3 on Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday.
Repeat Pitching Matchups: The Friday and Saturday games in Bloomington will feature repeat pitching matchups from last season. Illini senior Kevin Johnson (4-1, 1.89 ERA) and IU junior Joey DeNato (3-1, 3.41 ERA) will square off on Friday night for the third year in a row. Last season, Johnson was roughed up for seven earned runs in 2.2 innings, while DeNato picked up the win following 6.2 innings and two earned runs. In 2011, both pitchers received no decisions after DeNato lasted 5.2 innings (3 ER) and Johnson tossed 8.2 innings (2 ER) before exiting in a tie game in the top of the ninth. Casey McMurray gave Illinois a 4-3 victory with a walk-off home run that contest. Saturday's game will send a pair of undefeated sophomores to the mound in Illini John Kravetz (3-0, 3.82 ERA) and Hoosier Kyle Hart (4-0, 2.27 ERA). Last year, Kravetz tossed 7.1 innings with three earned runs and outdueled Hart, who allowed five earned runs in 5.2 innings, in the 7-3 Illinois victory.
Illini Team Notes
Perfect at Neutral Sites and at Night: Illinois is 7-0 in games at neutral sites and 4-0 in night games this season. The Illini won all three neutral contests at the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., and defeated Houston Baptist in both games at Texas-Arlington. The Orange and Blue also downed SIU in extra innings at Rent One Park on Marion, Ill., and knocked off Missouri at Busch Stadium, which were both night games. They also won two night games at Baylor on their way to their first three-game road series sweep against a non-conference opponent since 2006 (South Florida, March 3-5).
Offensive Explosion: Illinois scored its most runs in a game in nearly eight years when it pummeled Oakland, 21-8, in game one of the March 30 doubleheader. The Illini belted three home runs and racked up a season-high 18 hits on their way to scoring 21 runs for the first time since May 6, 2005 (21-4 over Northwestern). UI tallied 16 runs in the first four innings, which included a grand slam by Brandon Hohl, a three-run bomb by Jordan Parr and a solo shot by Thomas Lindauer.
First in Steals: The Illini currently lead the Big Ten with 54 stolen bases in 61 attempts, which is ranked 19th in the NCAA. David Kerian leads the team and is tied for third in the Big Ten with 12 stolen bases. Justin Parr is tied for sixth in the conference with 11, while Jordan Parr is ninth with 10 SBs. Ten different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have been caught stealing only nine times, which is the third fewest in the Big Ten.
Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 9-2 when scoring in the first inning and 15-2 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 159 runs.
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 trails only 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 T-6th (22), respectively, in RBI in the Big Ten. Left-handed Justin (44-for-108) and right-handed Jordan (29-for-98) are hitting .354 combined (73-for-206) as the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup. Jordan's four home runs are tied for second in the conference, while Justin's 44 hits rank third. Justin (.546) and Jordan (.480) are fifth and 11th, respectively, in slugging percentage in the Big Ten.
Power Surge for Lindauer: Junior Thomas Lindauer has hit all four of his career home runs 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 (3/30). He is tied for second in the Big Ten in home runs and eighth in the conference with 21 RBI, which ranks third on the Illini.
Resilient Roberts Returns: Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts, the oldest player on the Illini, has three wins and a save in five appearances on the season thanks to allowing zero earned runs in 8.1 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 perfect eighth and ninth innings to force extras, where the Illini won it 2-1 in the 10th. 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 (3/30) 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 eight 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 T-10th in hits allowed (31).
Freshmen in the Rotation: Two freshmen pitchers, left-hander Kevin Duchene and right-hander Nick Blackburn, have both been in the weekend rotation and combined to make 10 starts this season. Duchene (4-0) is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in wins after picking up his fourth victory with a scoreless inning vs. Missouri at Busch Stadium (4/2). They each picked up their first career wins at the Keith LeClair Classic, as Duchene earned the victory over Ohio (2/22) and Blackburn turned in a quality start in his win over Boston College (2/24), striking out five over 6.2 innings with no earned runs. Both freshmen notched their second wins at the UTA/Hilton Invitational, as Duchene gave up no earned runs over 8.2 innings vs. Houston Baptist (3/1) and Blackburn let in two earned runs over 6.2 innings vs. HBU (3/2). Duchene notched his third win vs. Oakland (3/30, game 1), while Blackburn (2-1) suffered his first loss against the Grizzlies (3/31) during the series.
Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .314 (95-for-303) with two outs in an inning and is led by sophomore David Kerian, who is 13-for-27 (.481) when faced with the situation. The Illini have 62 two-out RBI, meaning 43 percent (62-of-143) 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 over .370 with two outs: Justin Parr (.398), Michael Hurwitz (.379), Will Krug (.375) and Jordan Parr (.371).