Anderson fires third consecutive complete game as Illinois notches 6-3 win in Northwestern series

Illinois starting pitcher John Anderson went the distance for the third consecutive time in leading the Illini to a 6-3 win at Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. Anderson did not allow a hit until Northwestern shortstop Trevor Stevens executed a textbook bunt down the third base line in the fourth inning. The Wildcats (14-24, 6-8 Big Ten) tagged Anderson for three runs in the inning, though only one was earned due to right fielder Davis Hendrickson’s error on a fly ball that would have ended the inning with one run across.

However, Anderson would recover from the three-run swing to face just one more than the minimum amount of batters over the final five innings. Anderson improved to 5-5 on the year for the Illini (16-22, 7-7) and finished his nine innings of duty with six hits, six strikeouts, and one earned run to lower his rotation-low 3.77 ERA to 3.41.

Pete Cappetta continued his hot streak since moving to the leadoff spot and recorded three hits and a hit by pitch with two runs scored. Brandon Hohl and Matt Dittman each drove in a pair of Illini runs, while Hohl dazzled the crowd with a spinning stop of a seventh-inning Nick Linne grounder that appeared to be ticketed for the outfield.

Linne knocked in two Northwestern runs on a single in the fourth inning, while first baseman/left fielder Jack Havey finished the day 1-for-3 with an RBI single of his own. Northwestern head coach Paul Stevens received an iffy outing from starter Luke Farrell, who came into the game with a team-best 4-1 record. Farrell, who is the son of Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, was dominant after recording his first out but allowed the Illini to score four times before that first out. Farrell was pulled in the eighth inning after throwing seven and a third innings with five earned runs and two strikeouts.

The Illini scored once more in the ninth inning when left fielder Casey McMurray drove a Jack Quigley pitch to the outfield to bring home Cappetta. Game Three of the series will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. at Northwestern’s Rocky Miller Park.