May 21, 2010
Final Stats |
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Illinois used a seven-run sixth inning to vault past the Indiana baseball team in a 17-12 victory on Friday at Sembower Field. Micah Johnson and Tyler Rogers each had three hits for the Hoosiers (26-25, 11-12 Big Ten) in a losing effort, while Brandon Hohl had three hits, including two homers for the Fighting Illini (26-25, 10-13).
The Hoosiers mashed three home runs in the game, with Johnson (10), Michael Earley (13) and Brian Ritz (4) each knocking longballs. IU has now tied its single-season team record with 82 home runs, matching the 1992 team, which turned the trick in 55 games. With Alex Dickerson's 23 and Josh Lyon's 11, IU has four players in double-digits in dingers this season.
Chris Squires picked up a tough-luck loss for Indiana, as for the second time this season he was credited with a blown save without allowing an earned run. The senior came on with a 9-7 lead and two on and two out in the sixth, and got Thomas Shelton to swing and miss, but after Dylan Swift trapped the ball, his throw to first sailed high to allow a run as Shelton reached safely. That proved a watershed moment in the game, as Pete Cappetta followed with a single to center, Adam Davis dribbled one through the right side and then Hohl hit his second longball of the day, and all of a sudden the 9-7 advantage turned into a 13-9 deficit.
Indiana pulled within three in the bottom of the eighth on an Ethan Wilson RBI double, but Illinois scored four runs in the ninth to pull away. The Hoosiers scored two more runs in the bottom of the ninth to make it interesting, as Johnson, Dickerson and Lyon each doubled, but U of I closer Bryan Roberts retired pinch-hitter T.C. Knipp to end the game.
IU tallied solo runs in each of the first two innings, as Earley delivered an RBI double in the first and Ritz hit a solo homer in the second to make it 2-0. But Illinois struck with two runs in the third, delivering a trio of doubles to knot the score at 2-2. After Hohl homered to give the Illini their first lead of the series in the fourth, Swift delivered an RBI groundout in the bottom of the frame to again tie the score 3-3.
In the fifth, the Illini scored a pair of runs on consecutive RBI singles by Shelton and Cappetta, and Davis added an RBI groundout to make it 6-3 in favor of the visitors. But IU came storming back with a six spot in the fifth. Earley led off with a towering shot to left, and he was followed by a Lyon single and a Rogers double to right-center to trim the deficit to 6-5. That chased Kevin Johnson from the game, and Mike Sterk came on in relief. Sterk allowed a Ritz sac fly for the first out of the inning, tying the game at 6-6, but Wilson delivered a double, Swift singled and then Johnson blasted a ball over the wall in left center for his 10th homer of the year to make it 9-6.
In the sixth, though, Illinois embarked on its fateful inning, scoring seven times and never looking back. In addition to Hohl's big day, Casey McMurray had a trio of doubles and Shelton posted three hits as well. Corey Kimes nabbed the win in relief, allowing just three hits in 2 2/3 shutout innings to improve to 2-1 on the season.
The two teams will finish up their three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m., with both teams still in the hunt for the Big Ten Tournament. IU will also honor seniors Michael Earley, Sterling Mack, Tyler Rogers and Chris Squires prior to the game, as the contest will be their final ones at home in an IU uniform. Live audio and statistics for the contest will be available on IUHoosiers.com.