Hoosiers Come Up Short Against Fighting Illini, 6-5
May 11, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Opening its final Big Ten road series of the season, the Indiana baseball team could not overcome a sixth-inning Illinois rally and lost game one, 6-5, on Friday evening at Illinois Field. The Hoosiers dropped to 17-29 overall (6-18 Big Ten), while the Fighting Illini improved to 25-22 (11-12).
The opportunistic Hoosiers took advantage of a trio of Illini miscues to grab a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Junior designated hitter Jon Fixler and sophomore right fielder Chris Hervey recorded RBI groundouts, while freshman first baseman Brad Henke capped the scoring with a two-out single to score Fixler.
Catcher Lars Davis put U of I on the board with a run-scoring double in the home half of the first, and a Hoosier error allowed center fielder Kyle Hudson to cross the plate making it a one-run ballgame.
Indiana bounced back with a solo tally in the fifth to push its lead back to two. Senior second baseman Keith Haas laced a one-out double down the right-field line, stole third and sophomore center fielder Andrew Means brought him home with a two-out base knock.
The lead was short-lived as the Fighting Illini strung together four hits to open the sixth to take their first lead of the evening. Davis started the rally with a high pop up that fell between freshman shortstop Evan Crawford and freshman left fielder Brian Lambert.
Two batters later, designated hitter Daniel Webb crushed a double into the right-center field gap to square things at 4-4. Shortstop Shawn Roof added an RBI single and second baseman Ryan Hastings delivered a sacrifice fly to put U of I up 6-4 through six innings.
In the seventh, junior third baseman Tyler Cox and Haas ripped base hits to open the frame. However, Davis caught Cox wandering too far off second base for the first out. Crawford followed with a rocket to third baseman Brandon Wikoff, who made a beautiful diving stab to his right, but threw errantly to second base allowing Haas to move to third.
Means then hit a bounding ball off the glove of second baseman Ryan Hastings and into center field to score Haas with the Hoosiers' fifth run. Fixler kept the rally going with an infield single loading the bases, but Illinois starter Tanner Roark (6-2) induced Hervey into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Hoosier starter Jason Ferrell (3-4) retired the first two batters in the seventh before back-to-back singles put runners on first and third and chased him from the game. Freshman right-hander Chris Squires relieved Ferrell and quickly forced Roof to ground into a fielder's choice to escape without any damage.
IU stranded a runner on second in the eighth and Haas reached second on an error to lead off the ninth. After Crawford advanced Haas to third, right-handed reliever Jake Toohey struck out Means and Fixler to nail down the victory and pick up his fifth save.
Ferrell went 6 2/3 innings and gave up five runs with no walks and four strikeouts. Roark surrendered just two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of work.
Means finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, one run scored and a stolen base, while Haas added a 2-for-5 effort with a stolen base and two runs.
The teams return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for a doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. Sunday's series finale is slated to kick off at 2:05 p.m.
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