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Illinois Baseball Weekend Recap: Illini Fall Short Against Indiana

The Illini tied the series at one, but in the end couldn't hold off the streaking Hoosiers.

Given a chance to tie Indiana for the conference lead with a sweep, the Illini (10-5 Big Ten) could not hold off No. 24 Indiana (13-2 Big Ten). Indiana won the first and third games, 9-3 and 11-3, while Illinois took the middle match, 2-1.

Drasen Johnson (4-5) started the series opener on Friday and allowed seven runs on nine hits in 5 innings, earning his fifth loss on the year. The win went to Joey DeNato (9-1) of Indiana.

After a scoreless first inning, Indiana scored on shortstop Nick Ramos' groundout, then added three more runs in the third on RBIs from third baseman Dustin DeMuth and Brad Hartong. Indiana extended their lead with two more runs in the fourth inning, produced by second baseman Casey Rodriguez and catcher Kyle Schwarber.

The Illini shortened the lead to three runs in the fourth on a two-run home run from Reid Roper scoring Nagle, his fifth on the year, and a sacrifice fly from Casey Fletcher that brought in Kerian. But Indiana again extended the lead, tacking on runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth, ultimately defeating the Illini, 8-3.

*****

Star Illini pitcher John Kravetz (5-1) pitched for Illinois on Saturday and earned the series equalizer and his fifth win this season, as the Illini defeated Indiana, 2-1. The loss went to Hoosiers pitcher Christian Morris (2-3).

Kravetz worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning, allowing only one run on a sacrifice fly from O'Conner. The Illini responded with early production of their own. Goldstein and Reid Roper both singled to the right side to start the inning, advanced following a walk, then crossed the plate when Casey Fletcher sent a double down the left field line.

The scoring ended there for both teams, with each side tallying eight strikeouts.

*****

With a chance to surpass Nebraska in the conference standings, Ryan Castellanos (4-3) was unable to work past Indiana's offense, as the Hoosiers crushed Illinois, 11-3.

In the first inning, DH Scott Donley homered to the left side, taking a quick 2-0 lead over the Illini. Ryne Roper responded in the third with an RBI triple, but Indiana answered with another four runs in the fifth on a two run single from Schwarber and another two-run homer from Travis.

Already up 6-3, Hartong hit a two-RBI single in the seventh, making the score 8-3. Later on, Schwarber earned another RBI, and DeMuth added another two with a single up the middle. The Fighting Illini failed to even make a dent.

Up next for the Illini is another home game with Southern Illinois (21-23, 3-12 Missouri Valley Conference) at 6 pm Tuesday.