Indiana Wins Series Opener at Illinois, 9-2
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Indiana University baseball team captured a series-opening win for the first time this season in Big Ten play, defeating Illinois, 9-2, Friday night at Illinois Field in Champaign. The Hoosiers improved to 22-15 overall and 6-7 in league play while the Illini slipped to 13-20 and 5-8.
"It's good to get a win on Friday," Hoosier coach Bob Morgan said. "We swung the bats well, and we stepped up and got the lead and then extended it. Illinois started to come back at us and we responded. Jay Brant hit a big three-run homer for us, and Seth Bynum had a big one as well. Adam Pegg pitched well for us in relief, and we were able to get the job done."
Ryan Donley's sacrifice fly broke a scoreless tie in the fourth. Following a single to left by Seth Bynum and a base hit and stolen base by Kevin Mahar, Donley's flyball to right allowed Bynum to tag up and cross home plate. Josh Richardson kept the rally alive as he dropped a base hit into shallow center field, scoring Mahar from third. The Hoosiers squeezed home another run as Watson safely reached first on an error by Illini shortstop Eric Eymann. Richardson went home before Watson was gunned down at second for out number three and IU took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
IU held the Illini in the bottom of the fourth and went on to extend its lead by one run in the fifth. Corby Heckman slugged a one-out double to the wall in right-center. Heckman advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Bynum's second hit of the game, a single to right-center.
Illinois battled back in the fifth, scoring two runs on two hits and a pair of Hoosier errors. Vince DiMaria produced a leadoff single to third and moved on to second on Richardson's errant attempt to throw him out at first. DiMaria went to third on a wild pitch and came home on a sac fly by Trevor Huisinga. Shawn Roof earned a free pass to first after being hit by Vitielliss. Roof was safe at second and moved to third base in the next at bat as IU second baseman Jay Brant's throw to second went into center field. Roof scored on another fielder's choice to make it 4-2.
Brant made up for his error in his next at bat by blasting his third home run in three games off the foul pole in left. The three-run shot scored Richardson, who had laid down a perfect bunt up the third base line to get on, and Wargo, who reached on a fielder's choice, and gave the Hoosiers a 7-2 lead.
Vitielliss earned the victory for the Hoosiers, improving to 4-2. He worked six innings for IU, scattered seven Illini hits, walked one and struck out three. The Waldorf, Md., product gave up just two runs, both of which were earned. Adam Pegg relieved Vitielliss in the sixth and turned in an outstanding relief performance en route to his third save of the year. The senior righthander threw four innings of one-hit baseball and struck out one. Illinois starter Joe Ziemba was tagged with the loss, his record falling to 1-6. Ziemba gave up 10 hits and was responsible for four earned runs. He struck out for in the loss.
Indiana totaled 16 hits, and Bynum and Richardson led the way with three apiece. Bynum and Brant drove in three runs each.
Indiana and Illinois continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader. Originally, first pitch of game one was set for 4:05 p.m., but in an attempt to avoid forecasted rain, the twinbill has been moved up to 1:05 p.m.
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