Illinois Welcomes Northwestern for In-State Showdown

Freshman Tyler Jay and the Illini will host Northwestern for a three-game series at Illinois Field this weekend.
Freshman Tyler Jay and the Illini will host Northwestern for a three-game series at Illinois Field this weekend.

April 25, 2013

 Illinois (24-12, 6-6 Big Ten) vs. Northwestern (17-15, 6-9 Big Ten)
 Game 1 Friday, April 26, 2013 | 6:05 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, April 27, 2013 | 3:05 p.m.
 Game 3 Sunday, April 28, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.
 Location Illinois Field | Champaign, Ill.
 Gametracker Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
 Live Video ($) Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
 Live Audio ($) Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (PBP: Dave Loane; Analysts - Fri: Scott Beatty, Sat: Loren Tate, Sun: Jeff Huth)
 Game Notes Illinois | Northwestern
 Game 1 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Kevin Johnson (RHP, Sr., 6-2, 2.45 ERA)
NW: Luke Farrell (RHP, Sr., 2-2, 1.88 ERA)
 Game 2 Pitching  Matchup ILL: John Kravetz (RHP, So., 3-1, 5.19 ERA)
NW: Brandon Magallones (RHP, So., 4-4, 3.53 ERA)
 Game 3 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Ryan Castellanos (RHP, Fr., 2-1, 5.20 ERA)
NW: Zach Morton (RHP, r-Sr., 3-2, 1.98 ERA)
 Series History Illinois leads 161-86
 Games in CU Illinois leads 86-29
 Last Season Illinois swept series, 3-0
 Streak Won 5
 Social Media @IlliniBaseball   |  Facebook
 Preview Interviews Coach Hartleb | Thomas Lindauer | Justin Parr

Illinois Is...
...on a 5-game winning streak against Northwestern
...20-2 when out-hitting its opponent
...averaging 6.7 runs & 11 hits per game this season
...wearing special stars & stripes jerseys on Sunday for Honor & Serve Day

In-State Showdown vs. Wildcats
A Look at the Weekend: After Tuesday's contest against Eastern Illinois was rained out, Illinois will return to action this weekend with a three-game set against Northwestern. Illinois sits right in front of Northwestern in Big Ten standings, with the Illini in seventh place at 6-6 and the Wildcats in eighth at 6-9. All three games at Illinois Field will be streamed online via the Big Ten Digital Network (subscription required) and aired on WDWS AM-1400 or online via Fighting Illini All-Access (subscription required).

Weekend Promotions: Illinois will feature several promotions this weekend at Illinois Field. The Illini will support the Eastern Illinois Foodbank on Saturday and Sunday, with food donations being accepted at collection bin stations. Saturday will be Camper Reunion Day, with campers taking the field with players for the anthem and post-game wiffleball. Sunday's series finale will feature the second annual Honor and Serve Day. The Illini will wear special stars and stripes jerseys, which will be auctioned off during the game, with all proceeds from the auction going to Roundhouse.

Series History against the Wildcats: Illinois has dominated the all-time series against Northwestern, leading the all-time series by a 161-86 margin, including an 86-29 lead in games played in Champaign. Illinois has won five in a row against the Wildcats and five of the last six series between the teams. They swept Northwestern last season in Evanston, won the series in 2011, dropped the 2010 series, swept the three-game set in 2009 and won three of four games in both 2007 and 2008 for a 15-5 record against NU in the last six years. Dan Hartleb is 16-8 overall against the Wildcats as Illini head coach.

Illini Team Notes
Hits Translate to Wins: Illinois is 20-2 on the season when out-hitting its opponent and just 2-9 when getting out-hit by an opponent (also 2-1 when hits are equal). The Illini have recorded double-digit hits in 21 games this season, including a streak of six-straight double-digit games, which was snapped in the series finale against Ohio State (4/21) with nine hits. UI is averaging 11 hits per game and ranks third in the Big Ten with 396 hits and 19th in the NCAA with a .307 batting average.

Second in Steals: The Illini rank second in the Big Ten with 82 stolen bases in 97 attempts, which is ranked 15th in the NCAA. Sophomore David Kerian and redshirt-junior Jordan Parr are tied for second in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases, which leads the Illini, while senior Justin Parr is tied for 11th in the conference with 13 steals. Eleven different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have been caught stealing 15 times, which is the third fewest in the Big Ten.

Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 11-5 when scoring in the first inning and 18-5 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 39-15 in the first frame, which is its highest-scoring inning. UI ranks second in the Big Ten with 241 runs and has outscored its opponents (162 runs) in every inning on the year. The Illini are averaging 6.7 runs per game in 2013 and have reached double figures in seven games.

NCAA Rankings: In the latest NCAA rankings (4/25), Illinois sits 17th in the nation in average (.307) and 18th in stolen bases (82). The Illini's 6.7 runs per game is 32nd, while their .428 slugging percentage is 33rd. Individually, senior Justin Parr is No. 3 in the NCAA in average (.435) and No. 6 in hits (67).

Illini Player Notes
24-Game Hit Streak: After recording a hit in each game of the Ohio State series, Illini center fielder Justin Parr extended his hitting streak to 24 games, which is one game shy of Ryan Snowden's school-record streak of 25 games from 2007. It also ranks as the longest active streak in the country and the fourth longest in the nation this season. Oklahoma's Matt Oberste turned in the longest streak of 30 games earlier this year, while New Mexico's Mitch Garver and UNC Wilmington's Michael Bass each had a streak of 26 games.

Top Hitting Streaks in Illinois History
1. Ryan Snowden 25 games (2/25/07-4/14/07)
2. Justin Parr 24 games (3/9/13-present)
3. Tom Sinak 23 games (4/17/94-3/5/95)

Where Parr Ranks: Senior Justin Parr is ranked No. 3 in the NCAA and leads the Big Ten in average (.435) and No. 6 in the nation in hits (67), which leads the conference. For the season, he has the most total bases in the Big Ten with 98 and most triples with four and is second in the conference in slugging (.636), OBP (.482) and RBI (40). He is tied for fourth in the conference in doubles (11) and home runs (4) and sixth with 32 runs.

Johnson Sets Career Innings Pitched School Record: With a groundout to second for the first out of the second inning at Ohio State (4/19), senior Kevin Johnson surpassed Mark Dressen's previous school-record mark of 328.2 career innings. The Midlothian, Ill., native owns the new record with 333 career innings and has not missed a start in his career, tallying 53 total starts with 13 in 2010 (75.2 IP), 16 in 2011 (103 IP), 14 in 2012 (88.1 IP) and 10 thus far this season (66 IP). He has been the Illini's No. 1 starter for the past three years and earned his 20th career victory with the win over the Buckeyes while improving to 6-2 in 2013, which is tied for the second-most wins in the Big Ten. His 44 strikeouts in 2013 are ranked seventh in the Big Ten, while his 208 career strikeouts sit fifth on the Illini all-time list.

Lindauer Named to SS Watch List Again: Junior Thomas Lindauer was named to the watch list for the 2013 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, sponsored by Mizuno, the College Baseball Hall of Fame announced. The Moline, Ill., native was recognized on the list for the second year in a row. Lindauer is one of three Big Ten shortstops on the list of 25 along with Indiana's Michael Basil and Ohio State's Kirby Pellant. The award recognizes the top shortstop in college baseball and will be presented on June 29 in Lubbock, Texas.

Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .315 (138-for-438) with two outs in an inning and has a pair of players hitting over .380 when faced with the situation in sophomore David Kerian (.500, 19-for-38) and senior Justin Parr (23-for-60, .400). The Illini have 88 total two-out RBI, with five players in double figures - Justin Parr (15), sophomores Michael Hurwitz and David Kerian (12) and junior Thomas Lindauer and Jordan Parr (11).

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 10-3 record in 29 total appearances, including 15 starts. Current Sunday starter Castellanos (2-1) won his first two career starts at Indiana (4/7) and vs. Purdue (4/14). Duchene (6-1) is tied for second 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 at Illinois State (4/16) and 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).

Second Annual Honor & Serve Day
Illinois will host its second annual "Honor and Serve Day" at Illinois Field during the series finale against Northwestern on Sunday, April 28 at 1:05 p.m. 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 Illini will wear special stars and stripes jerseys, which will be auctioned off during the game, with all proceeds from the auction going to Roundhouse. Roundhouse is a temporary homeless shelter serving community referred 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.

On game day, the University of Illinois navy ROTC will present the colors for the national anthem, a military vehicle will be on display for photo opportunities and Purple Heart recipients and military veterans will receive special recognition. Children from military families can run onto the field with the team during the anthem, and special concession stand deals will be offered for those presenting a military ID.

The Fighting Illini Dugout Club, which donated the jerseys, will hold a silent auction at Illinois Field and use one jersey as a grand prize for a Tennis Ball Toss promotion. Numbered tennis balls will be available for purchase during the game, with proceeds also going to Roundhouse. At the conclusion of the game, fans attempt to land their tennis balls in targets placed on the field for prizes, including the grand prize of a stars and stripes jersey.

Eastern Illinois Foodbank Notes
The University of Illinois baseball team will support the Eastern Illinois Foodbank during the weekends of the final two home series. Donation bins will be set out at Illinois Field on April 27-28 during the Northwestern series and May 11-12 during the Penn State series. Fans can support the cause by bringing food donations to the game, with the "Super Six" items being the food needed the most by the Foodbank.

The "Super Six" items include canned meats and fish, canned complete meals, canned beans and other vegetables, canned fruits, boxed meals, and peanut butter. They also accept toiletries, cleaning products, pet food and new or gently used backpacks. All donated food must be in its original form, meaning they cannot accept open cans, bags or containers of food. They are unable to accept homemade food or food in glass containers.

All donations will go to fight hunger in communities throughout 14 eastern Illinois counties. The Foodbank provides free and very low cost food to more than 220 food pantries and other agencies and programs serving individuals and families struggling with hunger. These agencies and programs combined feed approximately 100,000 individuals a year, and 1 in every 4 of these clients is a child.