Illinois baseball wins 12th straight game

By Michal Dwojak, Staff writer

While fireworks were brought to Illinois Field on Friday night for the “Bleacher Bum BBQ,” the Illinois baseball team brought some of its own. The Illini used key at-bats and a strong pitching performance to outlast Indiana and win the game 5-1, taking the first of a three-game series and winning their 12th-straight game.

With a team that wins 12-straight games, everything has to be going right. Once again Friday, Illinois received a consistent performance from all areas of the game to capture another win.

“We did it on all fronts,” center fielder Will Krug said. “We had pretty good defense, great pitching, and our offense was there and got the job done bringing in five runs.”

Illinois wasted little time responding to an Indiana run in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Adam Walton knocked a home run past the left-field wall to tie the game at one in the bottom of the first frame. Catcher Jason Goldstein joined Walton when he hit a solo shot past the left-field wall in the third to give Illinois the 2-1 lead.

The Illini tacked on a run in the fourth when third baseman Ryne Roper hit an RBI single to the shortstop, which allowed Krug to score — Krug made it on base when he was hit by a pitch and advanced to third when Indiana’s first baseman Scott Donley misplayed a throw to first from the catcher.

Two more runs scored in the fifth when Reid Roper led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second when Goldstein reached on an error. Right fielder Casey Fletcher drove in one run with a double to right field, and Krug brought in Fletcher with a single to right.

Pitcher Kevin Duchene responded after getting off to a rough start — his first pitch hit Indiana’s leadoff man Casey Rodrigue. The Hoosiers scored a run, but that’s all they Hoosiers would sniff from the junior pitcher. Duchene pitched seven innings of 10-hit ball with nine strikeouts. Cody Sedlock came in relief and held the game for the Illini.

“Any time you’re able to scatter 10 hits and only give up one run, the defense has to be great.” Duchene said, “Fortunate enough for me, the defense was great all day … and I was able to get out of some jams.”

The Illini will try to win their 13th straight when they play game two against Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

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