Illinois to Face Purdue in Weekend Big Ten Series

Friday night's starter Kevin Johnson needs just six more innings to equal the Illinois school record for career innings pitched.
Friday night's starter Kevin Johnson needs just six more innings to equal the Illinois school record for career innings pitched.

April 11, 2013

 Illinois (19-10, 2-4 Big Ten) vs. Purdue (11-19, 4-5 Big Ten)
 Game 1 Friday, April 12, 2013 | 6:05 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, April 13, 2013 | 3:05 p.m.
 Game 3 Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 2:05 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
 Location Illinois Field | Champaign, Ill.
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (PBP: Dave Loane; Analysts - Fri: Scott Beatty, Sat: Itch Jones, Sun: Loren Tate)
 Live Audio ($) Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
 Gametracker Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
 Live Video ($) Game 2 on BTDN | Game 3 on BTN (Eric Collins & John Cangelosi)
 Game Notes Illinois | Purdue
 Game 1 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Kevin Johnson (RHP, Sr., 4-2, 1.94 ERA)
PUR: Jordan Minch (LHP, Fr., 4-3, 5.16 ERA)
 Game 2 Pitching  Matchup ILL: John Kravetz (RHP, So., 3-1, 4.71 ERA)
PUR: Robert Ramer (RHP, Sr., 2-2, 4.74 ERA)
 Game 3 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Ryan Castellanos (RHP, Fr., 1-0, 2.60 ERA)
PUR: Brad Schreiber (RHP, Jr., 1-4, 6.14 ERA)
 Series History Illinois leads 154-79-1
 Games at UI Illinois leads 83-37
 Last Season Purdue swept series, 3-0
 Streak Lost 3
 Social Media @IlliniBaseball   |  Facebook
 Preview Interviews Coach Hartleb | Kevin Johnson | Justin Parr

Illinois Is...
...14-0 when leading after 7 innings
...8-0 when having fewer errors than its opponent
...15-2 when out-hitting its opponent
...T-1st in the Big Ten & T-19th in the NCAA in steals (53)
...2nd in Big Ten in HR (16), runs (171), RBI (155) & BB (118)

Big Ten Series vs. Boilermakers
Leading Off: After dropping its midweek contest to Eastern Illinois, the Illini will be back in conference play this weekend with a three-game series against Purdue at Illinois Field. The Orange and Blue will take on the Boilermakers at 6:05 p.m. on Friday night followed by a 3:05 p.m. start on Saturday, which will be streamed online through the Big Ten Digital Network. Sunday's series finale against the defending Big Ten champions will begin at 2:05 p.m. and be aired live on the Big Ten Network, with Eric Collins and John Cangelosi on the call.

Bleacher Bum BBQ on Sunday: The fifth-annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue presented by FOX 55/27, the premier promotion for Fighting Illini baseball, will be held Sunday, April 14, when Illinois hosts Purdue at 2:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. The event has quickly become successful, as the previous four editions have drawn an average crowd of 3,134 fans to Illinois Field, including an all-time high of 5,214 in 2009. This year's event will feature free food for the first 1,000 people along with an inflatable obstacle course, face painting and balloon animals. Free admission and free parking will be offered at the event, with free food beginning an hour before first pitch at 1 p.m.

Pitching Probables: Senior Kevin Johnson (4-2, 1.94 ERA) will take the ball on Friday night against Purdue's freshman left-hander Jordan Minch (4-3, 5.16 ERA). Saturday's showdown will feature sophomore John Kravetz (3-1, 4.71 ERA) vs. senior Robert Ramer (2-2, 4.74 ERA). Freshman Ryan Castellanos (1-0, 2.60) will make his second career start in orange and blue against Brad Schreiber (1-4, 6.14 ERA).

Series History Against Purdue
Illinois has dominated the all-time series against Purdue, holding a 154-79-1 advantage that dates back to 1893. The Illini are 83-37 in games played in Champaign. Last season, the Illini were swept in West Lafayette by the Boilermakers, who went on to win the Big Ten championship. Purdue lost seven starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's squad, which went 45-14 and 17-7 in the Big Ten. Two years ago, Illinois won the series, 2-1, on the road. The Orange and Blue last swept Purdue in 1999, which also was their last series victory in Champaign.

Illini Team Notes
Streak Stoppers: Illinois snapped No. 16 Indiana's NCAA-best 18-game winning streak and handed the Hoosiers their first Big Ten loss this season with its 3-2 victory in the series finale. Freshman Ryan Castellanos won his first career start, and senior Justin Parr hit a home run and scored the winning run on senior Brandon Hohl's second sac fly, as the Illini defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since March 9, 2012, when they knocked off No. 18 Oregon (2-1). Freshman Tyler Jay held onto the one-run lead by retiring all four batters he faced out of the bullpen, while fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts closed the door for his second save with 1.2 scoreless innings.

Braggin' Rights at Busch: The Illini earned Braggin' Rights at Busch for the first time against Missouri at the St. Louis Cardinals' ballpark and topped MU on April 2 for the first time since 1988, snapping a six-game losing streak. Illinois collected 11 hits and capitalized on five Mizzou errors on its way to a 6-2 victory over the Tigers.

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 lead the Big Ten with 65 stolen bases in 74 attempts, which is ranked 19th in the NCAA. David Kerian and Justin Parr are tied for the team lead with 13 stolen bases, which is tied for third in the Big Ten. Jordan Parr is ninth in the conference with 11 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 9-3 when scoring in the first inning and 16-3 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 22-9 in the first frame and 22-6 in the second inning, which are Illinois' highest-scoring inning. The Orange and Blue have scored double-digit runs in every inning and rank second in the Big Ten with 171 runs.

Illini Player Notes
Hot-Hitting Justin Parr: Senior Justin Parr boasts the third-longest active hitting streak in the nation (17 games), which is a career high and ranks as the seventh longest in the NCAA this season. He is hitting .408 (31-for-76) during his current streak and has a hit in 27 of 29 games after also starting the season on a 10-game hitting streak. The Chillicothe, Ill., native leads the Big Ten in average (.435) and hits (54), which ranks eighth and ninth, respectively, in the NCAA. He sits among the top-10 Big Ten rankings in nine other offensive categories: 2nd in slugging (.613) & total bases (76), T-2nd in RBI (31), T-3rd in stolen bases (13), T-4th in doubles (9), 4th in OBP (.474), T-5th in triples (2) and T-6th in runs (24) & HR (3). He has a career-high tying four four-hit games and recorded multiple hits in a team-high 16 games as the No. 3 hitter in the batting order. He also Leads the Illini with 12 two-out RBI and 22 two-out hits (.423 average).

Johnson Throws Another CG, Nears IP Record: In his last start, senior Kevin Johnson retired 20 of the final 22 Indiana batters in his second-straight complete game (8 IP), but gave up three runs in the first two innings, which the Illini couldn't overcome in a 3-2 loss to the No. 16 Hoosiers (4/5). With his eight quality innings, he moved past Brett Weber (315.2) into second-place on Illinois' career innings pitched list with 322.2 and only trails the all-time leader Mark Dressen (328.2) by six innings. In Illinois' 4-0 victory over Oakland (3/29), he needed just 79 pitches to earn his third career complete-game shutout in which he only allowed three hits. He is in his third season as Illinois' No. 1 starter and leads the staff with a 4-2 record and 1.94 ERA. The Midlothian, Ill., native has not missed a start in his career and owns the most starts on the current Illini staff with 51. His 39 strikeouts in 2013 are tied for third in the Big Ten, while his 203 career strikeouts are ranked fifth on the Illini all-time list.

Power Surge for Lindauer: Junior Thomas Lindauer has hit all six of his career home runs this season, which leads the Illini and is second in the Big Ten. Four of his six bombs have been solo shots with one at Indiana (4/7), two on March 30 vs. Oakland (one in each game of the doubleheader) and one at Baylor (3/9, G1). His first career home run was a two-run shot vs. Houston Baptist (3/2) and his latest dinger came on a three-run homer against Eastern Illinois (4/9).

Castellanos Wins First Collegiate Start: Freshman Ryan Castellanos won his first career start at Indiana (4/7), snapping IU's NCAA-best 18-game winning streak at the time. The Davie, Fla., native pitched six solid innings with only two earned runs against the Hoosiers while scattering five hits and allowing zero walks. He was extremely efficient with 43 of his 55 pitches going for strikes. He has compiled a 2.60 ERA in 17.1 IP and made six appearances out of the bullpen before his first start.

Resilient Roberts on a Roll: Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts, the oldest player on the Illini, has three wins and two saves in six appearances on the season thanks to allowing zero earned runs in 10 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 posted his second save with another 1.2 scoreless innings at Indiana (4/7), which gives him 11 career saves, tying him for sixth in school history.

Hard to Hit Kravetz: Sophomore John Kravetz carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning vs. Oakland (3/30) and tallied his third win 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 four extra-base hits in seven starts and 42 IP. He is ranked 10th in the Big Ten in opponent batting average (.232) and T-11th in hits allowed (36).

Freshmen in the Rotation: Three freshmen pitchers, left-hander Kevin Duchene and right-handers Nick Blackburn and Ryan Castellanos, have been in the weekend rotation and combined to make 12 starts this season. Castellanos (1-0) won his first career start at Indiana (4/7), snapping IU's NCAA-best 18-game winning streak at the time with six solid innings. Duchene (4-1) is tied for eighth in the Big Ten in wins after picking up victories vs. Missouri at Busch Stadium (4/2), vs. Oakland (3/30, game 1), vs. Ohio (2/22) and vs. Houston Baptist (3/1). Blackburn (2-1) has notched wins over Boston College (2/24) and HBU (3/2), while suffering his only loss vs. Oakland (3/31).

Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .307 (107-for-348) with two outs in an inning and is led by senior Justin Parr, who is 22-for-52 (.423) with 12 two-out RBI when faced with the situation. Junior Thomas Lindauer also is in double figures with 10 two-out RBI, while the Illini have 63 total two-out RBI, meaning 41 percent (63-of-155) of their RBI have come with two outs. Sophomores David Kerian (13-for-31 - .419) and Will Krug (10-for-25 - .400) are both hitting .400 or higher with two outs.

Second Annual Honor & Serve Day
The University of Illinois baseball team will wear special stars and stripes jerseys for the series finale against Northwestern on April 28 at 1:05 p.m., as part of the second annual "Honor and Serve Day" at Illinois Field. The event is designed to honor University of Illinois student veterans and all of America's heroes, and to serve the Champaign-Urbana community. The Fighting Illini Dugout Club donated the jerseys and will auction them off after the game, with all proceeds from the auction going to Roundhouse.

Roundhouse is a temporary homeless shelter serving community referred female youth who are runaway, homeless, or at-risk for runaway or homelessness. It provides counseling and supportive services in a community integrated home type setting.

As part of the day's promotions, fans can purchase special T-shirts featuring the same stars and stripes pattern as the team's jerseys. The shirts will be available at Gameday Spirit in Champaign and at all seven Illinois home games from April 9-28. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the shirts also will be donated by Gameday Spirit to Roundhouse.