Illini Head to Normal to Play Illinois State on Tuesday
April 15, 2013
Illini-Redbirds Meet in Normal
Series History Against Redbirds: Illinois holds a 45-31 lead in the all-time series with Illinois State and has won five of the last eight meetings, with the only losses coming when ISU won in Normal last season and swept the home-and-home series in 2010. The Orange and Blue split the season series with the Redbirds a year ago, falling 16-7 in Normal and winning 7-5 in Champaign. The Illini have outscored ISU 73-51 in the seven meetings under head coach Dan Hartleb.
Notes on ISU: Illinois State (19-15) is on a five-game winning streak after sweeping a four-game series from Morehead State over the weekend. They are 11-4 at home this season and 3-3 in the Missouri Valley.
Illini Team Notes
NCAA Rankings: In the latest NCAA rankings (4/15), Illinois sits 18th in the nation in stolen bases (70) and 24th in average (.306). The Illini's 24 home runs are ranked 30th, while their .430 slugging percentage is 34th. Individually, senior Justin Parr is No. 3 in the NCAA in average (.438) and No. 7 in hits (60).
Illini Dig the Long Ball: After hitting eight home runs during the Purdue sweep, Illinois is up to 24 homers on the year, which has already surpassed its total from 2012 of 18. Junior Thomas Lindauer leads the team and the Big Ten with eight home runs this year.
Comeback Victories: The Illini have nine comeback victories on the season and six wins in their last at-bats. Their most recent game-winner came in the 6-4 victory against Purdue (4/13). Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore David Kerian tied the game with an RBI single to left, and two pitches later, redshirt-sophomore Reid Roper belted the game-winning home run to right field. Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts secured the win with a perfect ninth.
First in Steals: The Illini lead the Big Ten with 70 stolen bases in 81 attempts, which is ranked 18th in the NCAA. David Kerian ranks third in the Big Ten with 16 stolen bases, which leads the Illini. Jordan and Justin Parr are tied for seventh in the conference with 13 SBs. Eleven different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have been caught stealing only 11 times, which is the third fewest in the Big Ten.
Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 11-3 when scoring in the first inning and 17-3 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 34-14 in the first frame and 26-8 in the second inning, which are Illinois' two highest-scoring innings. UI ranks second in the Big Ten with 211 runs and has outscored its opponents in all but one inning (6th) on the year.
Illini Player Notes
Cycle on the Big Ten Network: In the series finale against Purdue (4/14) on the Big Ten Network, senior Justin Parr became the first Illini to hit for the cycle in over four years since Brandon Wikoff did so against Bradley on April 7, 2009. He had an RBI double in the first, led off the third with a home run to right field, singled up the middle in the fifth and coasted into third for a stand-up triple on a hit to the gap in right center in the eighth inning against Purdue on Sunday. He finished with a season-high four runs and four RBI in his fifth four-hit game this season.
20-Game Hit Streak: During the sweep of Purdue, Illini center fielder Justin Parr extended his hitting streak to 20 games, which ranks as the second-longest active streak in the country, tied for the third-longest in school history and tied for the eighth-longest in the nation this season. The Chillicothe, Ill., native's 20-game hit streak is five games shy of Ryan Snowden's school-record streak of 25 games from 2007. He is tied with Andy Schutzenhofer (20 games, 2000) for the third-longest streak by an Illini and three games behind Tom Sinak (23 games, 1994-95) for the second-longest mark. The only player in the nation with a longer active streak is Stetson's Patrick Mazeika at 21 games. Oklahoma's Matt Oberste turned in the longest streak of 30 games earlier this year.
Where Parr Ranks: Senior Justin Parr is ranked No. 3 in the NCAA and leads the Big Ten in average (.438) and No. 7 in the nation in hits (60), which leads the conference. For the season, he has the most total bases in the Big Ten with 88, is tied for the most triples with three and is second in the conference in slugging (.642), OBP (.480), RBI (36) and doubles (10). After hitting two home runs last week, he is tied for fourth in the conference in homers and moved up to third with 29 runs scored.
Lindauer Surges into Big Ten Home Run Lead: Junior Thomas Lindauer leads the Big Ten and ranks 25th in the nation with eight home runs. All eight of his career home runs have come this season and six of them have been solo shots. He belted two solo home runs during the Purdue series (4/12 & 14), one solo homer 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 he also had a three-run homer against Eastern Illinois (4/9).
Johnson Four Outs From Career IP School Record: With 327.2 career innings pitched, senior Kevin Johnson is one inning away from tying Mark Dressen for the career innings pitched school record of 328.2 innings. The Midlothian, Ill., native is in his third season as Illinois' No. 1 starter and has not missed a start in his career, giving him the most starts on the current Illini staff with 51. His 43 strikeouts in 2013 are tied for third in the Big Ten, while his 207 career strikeouts are ranked fifth on the Illini all-time list. In his last outing against Purdue (4/12), Johnson improved to 5-2 after pitching five innings and allowing five earned runs. Against No. 16 Indiana, 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 Hoosiers (4/5). 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.
Resilient Roberts on a Roll: Fifth-year senior Bryan Roberts, the oldest player on the Illini, has three wins and three saves in eight appearances on the season thanks to allowing zero earned runs in 12 innings pitched. He notched UI'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), posted his second save with another 1.2 scoreless innings at Indiana (4/7) and earned his third save vs. Purdue (4/13), giving him 12 career saves, which ranks sixth in school history.
Castellanos Wins First Two Collegiate Starts: Freshman Ryan Castellanos won his first two collegiate starts at Indiana (4/7) and vs. Purdue (4/14) after taking over the No. 3 spot in the rotation for the Illini. The Davie, Fla., native snapped No. 16 Indiana's NCAA-best 18-game winning streak at the time and pitched six solid innings with only two earned runs against the Hoosiers while scattering five hits and allowing zero walks. He improved to 2-0 after six solid innings and four earned runs against the Boilermakers. He has compiled a 3.47 ERA in 23.1 IP and made six appearances out of the bullpen before his first two starts.
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 for a 9-2 record in 25 total appearances, including 13 starts. Current Sunday starter Castellanos (2-0) won his first two career starts at Indiana (4/7) and vs. Purdue (4/14). Duchene (5-1) is tied for third in the Big Ten in wins after picking up victories out of the bullpen vs. Purdue (4/13) and Missouri at Busch Stadium (4/2) and in starts vs. Oakland (3/30, game 1), Ohio (2/22) and 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).
Roper Goes Deep Three Times: Illinois second baseman Reid Roper hit a home run in each game during the sweep of Purdue, finishing the series 7-for-14 (.500) with three home runs, five runs & eight RBI while slugging 1.214. Before homering in the Purdue series opener (4/12), Roper hadn't homered since his first game as an Illini on Feb. 17, 2012. He belted the game-winning home run with a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth in the 6-4 win over Purdue (4/13). He also went 3-for-5 with a homer and a career-high four RBI in the series finale vs. Purdue (4/14). He is tied for the most home runs during Big Ten games with three.
Goldstein Hitting Streak: Freshman Jason Goldstein is on a career-high 10-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .441 (15-for-34). He twice turned in a career-high three hits at Indiana (4/7) and vs. Purdue (4/12) during that stretch. He tallied his first career triple at Indiana (4/5) and hit his first career double vs. Missouri (4/2) at Busch Stadium.
Kerian Dominates against Purdue: Sophomore David Kerian's career-best performance came vs. Purdue (4/12), where he went 4-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run for his first career home run and tallied a career-high three runs and six RBI, which is the most by an Illini this season. The Dakota Dunes, S.D., native finished 8-for-12 (.667) with nine RBI, five runs, two doubles and one home run during the sweep of Purdue while also slugging 1.083 and reaching base at a .733 clip. For the season, he ranks first on the Illini and third in the Big Ten in steals (16), second on the Illini and sixth in the Big Ten in average (.380) and third on the Illini and sixth in the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.452).