Illini Lead PSU, 16-11, in 8th Inning of Suspended Game
April 25, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Left fielder Casey McMurray knocked a career-high five hits and third baseman John Schlichter ripped two triples and a double to help post Illinois to a 16-11 lead over Penn State in a game that was suspended in the bottom of the eighth inning. The contest was suspended after a two-hour rain delay and will be finished Saturday at 2 p.m., with the regularly scheduled doubleheader following 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the first inning, Illinois scored three with second baseman Joe Bonadonna drawing a one-out walk and moving to second on shortstop Brandon Wikoff's base hit. One out later, first baseman Ryan Hastings walked and DH Daniel Webb ripped a bases-clearing double to left-center to give the Illini a 3-1 lead.
PSU got another run in the second on a wind-blown homer by first baseman Cory Wine, but the Orange and Blue bounced back with a four-run frame. Right fielder Nick Stockwell reached on an errant throw by the shortstop and moved to second on McMurray's single. Center fielder Kyle Hudson sacrificed them over and Bonadonna drove in both runners with a double to left-center. He moved to third when the throw from the cut-off man was wide of the bag at second, and Wikoff followed with a double to left-center. He moved to third on a wild pitch and catcher Aaron Johnson drove him in with a groundout to push the lead to 7-2.
The Nittany Lions got a run back in the third, but Illinois scored twice in the fifth. Schlichter led off with a triple to deep center and scored one out later on McMurray's double to left-center. After an out, Bonadonna drove in McMurray with a single to left to make the lead 9-3.
After PSU cut the margin to 9-6 with a three-run sixth, the Illini tacked on three of their own in the bottom half. Hastings rapped a one-out single up the middle and went to third on Webb's base hit to center. Schlichter followed with a double off the wall in left-center that drove in two runs, and, one out later, McMurray drove him in with a single to center for a 12-6 lead.
The Lions continued to fight back, scoring three more in the seventh, but Illinois counter-punched with a four-run seventh inning of its own. Wikoff started the inning with a ground-rule double to left-center and, after an out, Hastings drove him in with a base hit. Webb followed with his second double of the night, scoring Hastings from first, and Schlichter laced his second triple of the game down the right-field line, scoring Webb. Schlichter came home one out later on McMurray's double to push the advantage to 16-9.
Penn State scored two in the top of the eighth and Illinois had two outs in the bottom of the inning when the thunderstorm hit, forcing a delay of two hours before the decision to suspend the contest was made. The game will resume with Johnson at the plate and a 1-1 count.
Up Next: Illinois and Penn State will finish game one of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday. After a 30-minute break, the teams will play the regularly scheduled doubleheader.