Illinois to Face Purdue in Weekend Big Ten Series
April 11, 2013
Big Ten Series vs. Boilermakers
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
Illini Team Notes
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
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
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.