Illinois Set for Crucial Big Ten Series at Michigan State
May 2, 2013
Crucial Big Ten Series vs. MSU
Series History against the Spartans: Illinois leads the all-time series with the Spartans by a 69-60 margin but trails 33-25 in games played in East Lansing. The Illini went 1-2 against MSU last season at Illinois Field, but won the series in 2011, which sparked their Big Ten title run. Illinois and Michigan State have faced each other in each of the past 14 seasons, with the Illini holding a 33-19 advantage in that span, including a 17-8 margin on the road. Illinois lost its last series in East Lansing in 2010, but took three of four from the Spartans back in 2008.
Illini Team Notes
Hits Translate to Wins: Illinois is 23-2 on the season when out-hitting its opponent and just 2-10 when getting out-hit by an opponent (also 2-1 when hits are equal). The Illini have recorded double-digit hits in 23 games this season, including in eight of the last 11 games. UI is averaging over 11 hits per game and ranks second in the Big Ten with 442 hits and a .307 batting average, which ranks in the Top 20 in the NCAA.
Comeback Victories: The Illini have 11 comeback victories on the season and seven wins in their last at-bats. Their most recent game-winner came in the 11-7 victory against Southern Illinois (4/30). The Illini scored four runs in the eighth to break the 7-7 tie, and Jordan Parr belted two home runs and tallied seven RBI. The first four Illini hitters each collected three hits and combined for nine runs and 10 RBI, while Drasen Johnson picked up his first win with 3.1 innings of relief.
Second in Steals: The Illini rank second in the Big Ten with 84 stolen bases in 102 attempts, which is ranked in the Top 20 in the NCAA. Sophomore David Kerian and redshirt-junior Jordan Parr are tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 17 stolen bases, which leads the Illini, while senior Justin Parr is tied for 12th in the conference with 13 steals. Eleven different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have been caught stealing 18 times, which is the fourth fewest in the Big Ten.
Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 11-5 when scoring in the first inning and 20-5 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 39-22 in the first frame, which is its highest-scoring inning. UI ranks second in the Big Ten with 272 runs and has outscored its opponents (179 runs) in every inning on the year. The Illini are averaging 6.8 runs per game in 2013 and have reached double figures in nine games.
Illini Dig the Long Ball: After Jordan Parr went deep twice against SIU, Illinois is up to 27 homers on the year, which is ranked second in the Big Ten and has surpassed its total from 2012 of 18. Junior Thomas Lindauer leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten with eight home runs this year, while Jordan Parr is second with six.
Illini Player Notes
Top Hitting Streaks in NCAA in 2013
Where Justin Parr Ranks: Senior Justin Parr is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA and leads the Big Ten in average (.436) and in the Top 10 in the nation in hits (75), which leads the conference. He also holds the top spot in the Big Ten in OBP (.484), total bases (110) and triples (4), ranks second in slugging percentage (.640) and RBI (45), sits 4th in runs (38), T-4th in doubles (12), T-5th in home runs (5) and T-12th in stolen bases (13).
Jordan Parr Heats Up: Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr extended his season-long hitting streak to 11 games by crushing a pair of three-run home runs and adding an RBI double vs. Southern Illinois (4/30), racking up a career-high seven RBI. The Chillicothe, Ill., native collected the most RBI by an Illini since 2004 when Chris Robinson notched eight vs. MacMurray (5/4/04). He became the first Illini to hit two home runs in a game since Brandon Hohl did so against SIU last season (March 18, 2012). He is now second on the team with six home runs, which is tied for third in the Big Ten. He also has moved up to third in the Big Ten in runs (40), fourth in RBI (37) and is tied for fifth in stolen bases (17) & walks (24).
Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .309 (151-for-488) with two outs in an inning and has a pair of players hitting over .385 when faced with the situation in sophomore David Kerian (.452, 19-for-42) and senior Justin Parr (25-for-65, .385). The Illini have 96 total two-out RBI, with five players in double figures - Jordan Parr (17), Justin Parr (16), Michael Hurwitz and David Kerian (12) and Thomas Lindauer (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 32 total appearances, including 17 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 fourth 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).
Senior Day Time Change: May 12 at 11 a.m.