Morgan Wins 1,000; IU Splits Big Ten Opener
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Indiana head baseball coach Bob Morgan became the 12th active coach and the 26th in Division I history to win 1,000 career games Saturday as the Hoosiers shut out Illinois, 4-0, in their Big Ten Conference opener. The Illini rallied back to take the second game of the doubleheader, 9-2, to earn a split in the first two games of the series.
Indiana's overall record stands at 15-4 and 1-1 in Big Ten contests. The Illini are 11-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The conditions on Saturday were very cold and included sporadic sleet and snow mixed in with patches of sun. In fact, a short stretch of heavy snow-sleet delayed the start of the first game by 20 minutes.
Through five complete innings in game one, both teams had totaled three hits, but the game remained scoreless. In the top of the sixth, though, Indiana broke through. With one out, first baseman Corby Heckman drew a walk. Illini starting pitcher Ted Rowe then third baseman Vasili Spanos with a pitch, to put runners on first and second for the Hoosiers. Rightfielder Kevin Mahar capitalized, smacking a base hit through the left side and scoring Heckman from second.
Spanos and Mahar both moved into scoring position on an Illinois passed ball. Designated hitter Nick Evans notched an RBI with his sacrifice fly to left as Spanos came home. Shortstop Seth Bynum continued IU"s string of offense with a single to left, scoring Mahar, for the 3-0 Hoosier lead.
Indiana added an insurance run in the seventh as leftfielder Mark Calkins reached on an error, stole second base and came home on Heckman's single to left field.
Jacob Cary (5-0) pitched his third straight complete game for Indiana and his first shutout of the season. Cary scattered five hits, gave up only one walk and logged three strikeouts.
"I felt like we played really well in the first game," Morgan said. "Jacob Cary did a great job pitching for us. He really set the tone. Even though the elements were tough with the snow and how cold it was, he pitched an outstanding game and we got some very timely hits."In the nightcap, after pitching to just two batters, Illinois starter Josh Lane left the game when return line drive nailed his right pitching hand. Andy Sigerich came on in relief for Illinois.
Indiana pushed one run across in the top of the first to open the scoring. Heckman hit a two-out chopper to reach base and then went to second on a passed ball. Mahar singled through the left side to knock Heckman in for the 1-0 advantage.
Illinois got its bats going in the bottom of the second and surged ahead of the Hoosiers. The Illini registered four hits and drew three walks en route to a 4-1 lead over Indiana. With two outs and the bases loaded, freshman Chris Hynes entered the game for Pegg to pitch. After working Illinois' Drew Davidson to a full count, Hynes sat him down looking.
U of I tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth. Brandon Cashman walked to get on base and eventually scored on Trevor Frederickson's single through the right side. Andy Shutzenhofer also scored on a sacrifice fly by Drew Davidson to make it 6-1.
The Fighting Illini picked up three more runs in the sixth on five hits, including a double to the wall in right by Cashman.
Ryan Donley was inserted as a pinch hitter to lead off the seventh. Donley responded and hit a solo homer over the fence in right field to give the Hoosiers their second run of the game. The long ball marked Donley's first of the season and the second of his career. That run was all Indiana could muster in the seventh as Illinois closed out the 9-2 win.
Sigerich got his first win of the season as he went 2.1 innings and allowed IU just two hits, one run and four walks, while striking out one. Reilly Smith took over for the final four innings and gave up just one run on one hit.
Morgan's career record now stands at 1,000-507-6.
"It was nice to get it today," Morgan said of the 1,000th win. "I would have liked to have won it at home, but this is a good win - a shutout in a Big Ten game on the road. It's one I'll always remember. I'm pleased to get 1,000. That's an elite group of coaches who have done that."
The Hoosiers and the Fighting Illini are scheduled to complete their four-game series on Sunday. The first of two games is set for a 1:05 p.m. (Central) start at Illinois Field.
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