May 10, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Illinois starter John Kravetz limited the University of Iowa baseball team to one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings, leading the Illini to a 5-1 victory and series win Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
“It was a tough game for us today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We didn’t have an answer for Kravetz. We weren’t able to do too much with him, as he was in control pretty much all day.”
Kravetz (6-1) allowed base runners in five of the first six innings, but he was able to avoid damage. The Illini defense produced three inning-ending double plays, and the right-hander had two strikeouts against one walk to stay unbeaten in Big Ten play.
Reliever Ronnie Muck closed out the victory, throwing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless relief to pick up his second save of the season.
Illinois grabbed the 1-0 lead in the second inning on a Ryne Roper RBI single to centerfield before stretching its advantage to 3-0 with two runs in the fifth. With one down, Ryan Nagle doubled to left center before scoring on an RBI single by Will Krug. The Illini plated their second run of the inning with a Kelly Norris-Jones RBI double into the right centerfield gap.
The Fighting Illini then tacked on their fourth run in the eighth on an RBI double by Reid Roper to deep center.
The Hawkeyes broke a streak of 15-straight scoreless innings in the bottom of the eighth when junior Kris Goodman connected on a solo home run — his fourth of the season — off of Kravetz to lead-off the inning. Iowa proceeded to put two runners on base courtesy of an Eric Toole single and Tyler Peyton walk with two outs, but Muck got junior Jake Yacinich to groundout to end the threat.
Illinois scored its final run in the top of the ninth against freshman Matt Allen. Nagle singled to open the frame before Allen hit a pair of batters with one out to load the bases. David Kerian made the score 5-1 with a sacrifice fly to left field.
UI starter Sasha Kuebel (6-4) suffered his first loss in a more than a month, allowing four runs on nine hits over eight innings of work. After giving up the second inning run, Kuebel retired nine straight batters. He finished with five strikeouts against zero walks in the contest.
“Sasha pitched outstanding,” said Heller. “He gave us a chance to win, pitching deep into the ball game and deserved a better fate. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Iowa’s offense managed just six hits in the game with four coming from two players. Junior Dan Potempa finished 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, while Goodman was 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI.
Sunday’s series finale has been pushed up to an 11 a.m. (CT) start with inclement weather forecasted. The Hawkeyes will honor seniors Trevor Kenyon, Bryan Niedbalski and Taylor Zeutenhorst prior to the game.
|Illinois 5, Iowa 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Illinois (29-17, 15-5)||0||1||0||0||2||0||0||1||1||5||10||1|
|Iowa (27-19, 8-12)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||6||1|
|W: Kravetz (ILL) 6-1|
|L: Kuebel (IOWA) 6-4|
|S: Muck (ILL) 2|