Illini Welcome Penn State for Final Home Series
May 9, 2013
Final Home Weekend vs. Penn State
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
Illini Team Notes
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
Top Hitting Streaks in NCAA in 2013
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