Lincoln - The Nebraska
baseball team fell behind early in its Big Ten Conference opener against the
Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday night at Hawks Field and were unable to
battle back in a 11-3 loss. Michael Pritchard and Chad Christensen each had two
hits for the Huskers (15-9, 0-1 Big Ten), while junior Justin Parr led the
Illini with a season-high four RBI's on two hits.
Kevin Johnson picked up his fourth straight win for the Illini to move to 4-1
on the season, as the righty went 7.0 innings and gave up three runs on nine
hits. For the Huskers, Tom Lemke fell to 2-2 on the year, while throwing a
season-high 89 pitches over 5.1 innings. Lemke gave up six runs (five earned)
on six hits and struck out two.
Illini came out swinging with three straight singles to start the game, with
Parr's base knock scoring leadoff-hitter Thomas Lindauer. NU's Cory Burleson then
threw out Parr when he tied to steal second and Lemke struck out Brandon Hohl
to put two outs on the board. NU looked like it would get out of the inning
down just 1-0, but a throwing error by freshman Pat Kelly on a ground ball to
second allowed Willie Argo to score, giving the Illini a 2-0 lead out of the
going down in order in the first, the Huskers cut the Illini lead in half in
the bottom of the second following a leadoff double from Richard Stock. With
the bases loaded and one out, Kelly plated Stock with an RBI ground out, but
the Huskers were unable to tie the game, as Johnson retired Kale Kiser to end
Illini went back up by two with a run in the top of the third and neither team
scored in the fourth or the fifth, before Illinois scored four in the top of
the sixth on four hits to go up 7-1.
continued to fight and got a rally going in the bottom of the eighth with consecutive
doubles to lead off the innings from Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti, as well as
a single from Christensen to cut Illinois' lead to 7-4 and chase Johnson from
the game. With no outs and Christensen on first, reliever Luke Joyce killed the
Husker rally when he got Stock to ground into a double play and then struck out
Kalkowski. The Illini added four runs on four hits in the top of the ninth and
Drasen Johnson retired the Huskers in order in the bottom of the frame to
finish off the 11-3 victory.
two teams will be back at Hawks Field tomorrow for game two of the three-game
series, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. The game will be a match-up of 3-0
pitchers, as Jon Keller will try and even the series for the Huskers, while
freshman John Kravetz is set to take the mound for the Illini.