Illini Welcome Penn State for Final Home Series

Illinois will recognize six seniors - Alex Lincoln, Kevin Johnson, Bryan Roberts, Justin Parr, Brandon Hohl, Davis Hendrickson - before Sunday's game.
Illinois will recognize six seniors - Alex Lincoln, Kevin Johnson, Bryan Roberts, Justin Parr, Brandon Hohl, Davis Hendrickson - before Sunday's game.

May 9, 2013

 Illinois (28-15, 9-9 Big Ten) vs. Penn State (12-31, 3-15 Big Ten)
 Game 1 Friday, May 10, 2013 | 6:05 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, May 11, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.
 Game 3 Sunday, May 12, 2013 | 11 a.m. "Senior Day"
 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: Ben Taylor, Sat: Loren Tate, Sun: Jeff Huth)
 Game Notes Illinois | Penn State
 Game 1 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Kevin Duchene (LHP, Fr., 6-1, 3.10 ERA)
 Game 2 Pitching  Matchup ILL: Ryan Castellanos (RHP, Fr., 2-1, 5.29 ERA)
PSU: Greg Welsh (LHP, Jr., 2-5, 4.14 ERA)
 Game 3 Pitching  Matchup ILL: John Kravetz (RHP, So., 4-1, 4.45 ERA)
PSU: Steven Hill (RHP, Sr., 1-7, 3.72 ERA)
 Series History Penn State leads 28-25
 Games in CU Illinois leads 12-11
 Last Season Penn State swept series, 3-0
 Streak Lost 5
 Social Media @IlliniBaseball   |  Facebook
 Preview Interviews Coach Hartleb | Thomas Lindauer | Justin Parr

Illinois Is...
...celebrating Senior Day on Sunday
...seventh in the Big Ten at 9-9, one game behind Michigan (10-8)
...33rd in NCAA RPI, third-highest in the Big Ten
...averaging 6.6 runs & nearly 11 hits per game
...20-1 when leading after seven innings

Final Home Weekend vs. Penn State
Setting the Stage: Illinois will welcome Penn State to Illinois Field for the final home weekend (May 10-12) of baseball in Champaign this season. The Illini sit in seventh place in the Big Ten at 9-9, one game behind sixth-place Michigan (10-8), while the Nittany Lions are in last place at 3-15. UI will wrap up conference play with a three-game set at Minnesota next week (May 16-18). The top six teams in the Big Ten will qualify for the Big Ten Tournament and play for the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament from May 22-25 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.

Series History against PSU: Illinois trails 28-25 in the all-time series against Penn State, but holds a 12-11 advantage in games in Champaign. Illinois and Penn State have faced each other in nine of the last 11 seasons, with the teams not playing a regular-season series in 2006 and 2007. The Nittany Lions swept the series a year ago in University Park, Pa., and took two out of three in 2011. Illinois won the last series played in Champaign, winning two out of three at Illinois Field in 2010. Head coach Dan Hartleb is 4-3 against PSU in games played in Champaign, with the two teams splitting the only other series in 2008 with Hartleb at the helm.

Senior Day Time Change (11 a.m.): The Illini will play the Nittany Lions at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 12, the final regular season home game at Illinois Field. The game was previously slated for a 1:05 p.m. start, but was moved up to accommodate travel arrangements for PSU. Senior Day recognition will take place on the field before the game, as the Illini will recognize six seniors: Davis Hendrickson, Brandon Hohl, Kevin Johnson, Alex Lincoln, Justin Parr and Bryan Roberts.

Bark in the Park & Baseball Cards on Saturday: Fans can bring their dog to Illinois Field on Saturday for the day's "Bark in the Park" promotion. A limited number of Illinois baseball card sets also will be given away at the game while supplies last.

Big Ten Race Heating Up
With two weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, Illinois sits in seventh place in the conference standings, one game out of sixth. The Illini, who trail sixth-place Michigan for the final spot in the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, will play last-place Penn State this weekend before heading to Minneapolis to face first-place Minnesota for the final series.

Illini Team Notes
Last Time Out: Illinois scored four runs in the eighth to win game two against Michigan State, but dropped the series to the Spartans, falling 4-3 last Sunday in heartbreaking fashion. The Illini fell 12-3 in the opener in East Lansing and rebounded on Saturday, as junior Ronnie Muck tossed four scoreless innings and earned the win following the four-run eighth. Sophomore John Kravetz pitched 7.1 solid innings and left with a 3-1 lead, but Michigan State hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to steal the 4-3 final from the Illini.

Hits Translate to Wins: Illinois is 23-3 on the season when out-hitting its opponent and just 3-11 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. UI is averaging nearly 11 hits per game and ranks second in the Big Ten with 465 hits and a .302 batting average, which ranks in the Top 30 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 86 stolen bases in 104 attempts, which is ranked in the Top 25 in the NCAA. Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr is ranked second in the Big Ten with 19 stolen bases, while sophomore David Kerian is seventh with 17 stolen bases. Eleven different Illini have at least one stolen base, and the Orange and Blue have been caught stealing 18 times, which is the third fewest in the Big Ten.

Early Offense Key for Illini: The Illini are 12-6 when scoring in the first inning and 21-6 when scoring before their opponent. Illinois is outscoring its opponents 43-28 in the first frame, which is its highest-scoring inning. UI ranks second in the Big Ten with 285 runs and has outscored its opponents (198 runs) in every inning but the sixth on the year. The Illini are averaging 6.6 runs per game in 2013 and have reached double figures in nine games.

Illini Player Notes
NCAA-Best Hit Streak in 2013: Senior Justin Parr owns the longest hitting streak in the NCAA in 2013 with a school-record mark of 31 games. He passed Oklahoma's Matt Oberste (30 games) for the top spot this year during the final game at Michigan State (5/5). He is 10 games shy of the all-time Big Ten record of 41 games, which was set by Penn State's Michael Campo in 2000. Parr broke Illinois' hitting streak school record when he tallied a hit in his 26th consecutive game with an infield single vs. Northwestern (4/27) and later added a home run. He tied Ryan Snowden's previous top mark of 25 games with a single in the ninth inning vs. Northwestern (4/26). The Chillicothe, Ill., native has recorded a hit in every game starting with the doubleheader at Baylor on March 9 and has recorded multiple hits in over half of the 31 games. He has tallied 15 games with one hit, 10 games with two hits, three games with three hits and three games with four hits, which included a cycle. He has hit all of his career-high five home runs during the streak.

Top Hitting Streaks in NCAA in 2013
1. Justin Parr (UI) 31 games (3/9/13-present)
2. Matt Oberste (OU) 30 games (2/15/13-3/30/13)

Top Hitter in the Nation: Senior Justin Parr took over the NCAA's top spot in average this week with his mark of .434 (79-for-182). He also ranks fifth in the nation in hits (79), which leads the conference. He holds the top spot in the Big Ten in OBP (.485), total bases (114), RBI (47) and triples (4) and is in the top six in four other categories: 2nd in slugging (.626); T-4th in doubles (12); T-5th in runs (38); T-6th in home runs (5).

Jordan Parr Notches Most RBI by an Illini since 2004: Redshirt-junior Jordan Parr crushed a pair of three-run home runs and added 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 fourth in the Big Ten. He also has moved up to third in the Big Ten in runs (41) and stolen bases (19), fourth in RBI (38) and is tied for seventh in walks (25).

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 34 total appearances, including 18 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 sixth 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).

Clutch Two-out Hitting: Illinois is hitting .312 (164-for-526) with two outs in an inning and has three players hitting over .385 when faced with the situation in sophomore David Kerian (.447, 21-for-47), senior Justin Parr (28-for-71, .394) and sophomore Michael Hurwitz (.388, 19-for-49). The Illini have 104 total two-out RBI, with five players in double figures - Justin Parr (18), Jordan Parr (17), Michael Hurwitz (16), David Kerian (14) and Thomas Lindauer (11).

Support the Eastern Illinois Foodbank this Weekend
The University of Illinois baseball team will support the Eastern Illinois Foodbank this Saturday and Sunday. 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.