Hoosiers Take Series with Doubleheader Split
April 4, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Indiana earned a road series victory over No. 26 Illinois by splitting a doubleheader with the Fighting Illini on Saturday. The Hoosiers took game one in dramatic fashion, winning 2-1 in the 10th inning, but U of I rallied from behind in game two to tally a 5-4 victory. Illinois (18-7, 4-2 Big Ten) remains in first place in the conference, with Indiana (12-16, 3-2) just half a game behind.
In the opener, Alex Dickerson hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th and Eric Arnett became the first pitcher in Indiana history to go 10 innings, collecting a 2-1 win over Illinois. The Hoosiers scored a run in the top of the ninth off U of I starter Ben Reeser to send the game to extras.
Arnett and Reeser engaged in one of the best pitcher's duels of the season to start the day. Through the opening four innings, the two combined to allow just four baserunners. In the fifth, IU threatened first, getting three singles to load the bases with one out. But Reeser got Chris Hervey to ground a ball that retired the runner at home and Jerrud Sabourin bounced out to second to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, the Illini scraped a run across against Arnett. With one down, back-to-back hitters dumped singles into right field for Matt Dittman. Dittman grounded a ball through the left side and the Illini sent Nick Stockwell to score ahead of the throw from left to take a 1-0 lead. On the play, though, the Hoosiers gunned down Willie Argo, who was trying to advance on the throw home, for the second out of the inning. Arnett then retired Joe Bonadonna on a flyout to end the inning.
The Illini had a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the bottom of the eighth. Consecutive singles and a throwing error by Josh Phegley on a sac bunt loaded the bases with nobody out. But Arnett followed that with back-to-back grounders - the first retiring the runner at home and the second a 4-6-3 double play to keep it a 1-0 deficit.
Indiana rallied when down to its final out in the top of the ninth. Tyler Rogers got a one-out single, but after Evan Crawford struck out swinging, the game was in the hands of freshman Vince Gonzalez. Reeser came inside on a 1-1 pitch and it hit the Mission Viejo, Calif., native to put Rogers in scoring position with two down. Hervey got the count to 2-2, then lined a single into left field to score Rogers and tie the game 1-1. T.C. Knipp followed with a pinch-hit single, but Gonzalez was gunned down at home to wrap up the ninth.
After Arnett retired the side in the ninth to send the game to extras, Dickerson came through with heroics with one away. Dickerson took a 2-0 pitch from reliever Nick Chmielewski and lined it over the wall in left to put Indiana up 2-1. Arnett then came on in the bottom of the 10th and retired the side 1-2-3 for his conference-leading sixth win of the year.
In game two, Dickerson hit a two-run homer and Chris Hervey added a solo shot, but the Hoosiers fell to the Illini 5-4, in another well-pitched game from both sides. Will Strack picked up the win in relief, while Matt Carr fell to 0-3 after taking the loss.
U of I scored a run in the bottom of the first on two walks and a hit to take an early 1-0 lead. But Indiana stormed back with three in the third to gain a 3-1 lead. Sabourin hit a double with two down and a single up the middle by Phegley brought home the first baseman. Dickerson then crushed a 1-1 pitch from starter Bryan Roberts over the wall in straightaway center for his ninth longball of the season. His nine homers are tied for the conference lead.
Illinois tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer by Aaron Johnson off Matt Bashore. Bashore fell victim to an infield single prior to Johnson's fourth longball of the season. The junior southpaw finished the game with a no-decision after allowing five hits and two walks, striking out seven in seven innings of work.
In the eighth, Carr gave up a leadoff double to left, then retired Brandon Wikoff on a bunt that moved Casey McMurray to third. After Dominic Altobelli walked to put runners at the corners, Chris Squires came out of the pen looking to turn two. The junior got Johnson to strike out for the inning's second out, but back-to-back singles by Dittman and Pete Cappetta to score a pair of runs and take a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
Indiana rallied in the top of the ninth for the second straight game. Hervey hit a solo home run that curved around the left-field foul pole with two down to make the score 5-4 Illinois. Sabourin then singled through the left side to put the tying run on base, but Phegley was caught looking at a pitch on the outside corner to end the contest.
Indiana now faces a pair of midweek contests, at Louisville on Tuesday and against Valparaiso on Wednesday at Sembower Field. Live audio and statistics for both games will be available on IUHoosiers.com.
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