Illinois Stays Alive With 5-3 Win Over Kansas State

June 4, 2011

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FULLERTON, CA - Right-hander John Anderson allowed just one earned over eight innings and Josh Parr finished with two hits and three RBI, helping fourth-seeded Illinois eliminate third-seeded Kansas State, 5-3, in game three of the 2011 NCAA Baseball Regionals on Saturday evening at Goodwin Field.

The Fighting Illini improved to 29-26 overall and will meet the loser of Saturday night's winners bracket contest between second-seeded Stanford and top-seeded Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 4 p.m. PDT. The Wildcats ended their season at 36-25 overall, finishing 0-2 in postseason play.

Anderson (8-6) scattered seven hits and struck out three while working into the ninth before giving way to Chris Pack, who induced a ground-ball double play and a game-inning ground out to nail down his fourth save of the season.

Kansas State starter Matt Applegate (5-5) suffered the loss, charged with five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Relievers Gerardo Esquivel and Evan Marshall combined to allow just five hits over the final 5 1/3 innings to keep their side in the game.

The Wildcats jumped out to the early lead on Mike Kindel's eighth home run of the season in the second, but Illinois' offense found its groove in the third, tying the game on Josh Parr's RBI double following a lead-off triple by Davis Hendrickson, and a Justin Parr sacrifice fly two batters later gave the Fighting Illini the lead for good.

Hendrickson added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to get the scoring started in the fourth and Josh Parr added the big blow in the inning, a two-run triple to left to knock Applegate from the game and give Illinois a 5-1 advantage.

That was more than enough for Anderson, who was tagged for a pair of unearned runs in the fifth, but held Kansas State to just two hits over his final three-plus innings before Pack closed it out.

Eight of the nine Fighting Illini starters finished with at least one hit, led by two hits apiece from Pete Cappetta, Matt Dittman, Hendrickson, and Josh Parr. Seven different Wildcats finished with hits on the day with Nick Martini, Jason King, and Kindel driving home runs for Kansas State.

POSTGAME QUOTES
Illinois Head Coach Dan Hartleb
(Opening statement) "We're still alive. That's the best part. John Anderson was in command all day. He threw three pitches for strikes. The defense came up with some big double plays and we had some timely hitting. We had a couple of lapses in the field, but we were able to overcome those mistakes. We've done a good job all year with our backs against the wall."

(On Josh Parr's performance from the No. 9 hole) "Josh has been very consistent all year. He's been very productive and has done a great job in that position. He had some great hits and showed composure, but we're confident in all of our guys up and down the lineup. It was just Josh's turn today and he produced for us."

(On a balanced lineup) "That's what has made us a good team all year. We don't have any dead outs in the lineup."

(On pitching depth) "We're in good shape. We have good starting pitching left. Our bullpen has done a good job and I like what we have if we need to go to them."

Senior pitcher John Anderson
(On trying for the complete game) "I always go out with the mentality that I'll finish the game. But I gave up that first hit in the ninth, and I didn't know I had thrown 110 pitches. In the end it was the right decision to go to Chris (Pack) and he finished it out."

(On his performance) "I think that I tried to come up big in big games all year. I've struggled in some of those games, but to do it on this stage is really a thrill for me."

Kansas State Head Coach Brad Hill
(Opening Statement) "We just got in a position early in the ball game having to play catch-up. Have to give the [starter] credit. He didn't walk anybody. He made us earn it all the way through. From the 6th inning on, we had really good at bats. We swung the bats a lot better. Right now in college baseball, if you're going throw strikes and make the other team earn it, you got a great chance of winning. Anderson threw strikes, we didn't get any help from anybody from him. They made good plays and those two double plays were definitely killers and took all the momentum away."

(on his starter Matt Applegate) "Matt was just up in the zone a little bit. Couldn't get the ball back down into the zone. They were good aggressive swings. It's a game of inches, and if our guy makes that catch, it saves a couple of runs. He gave it a dive, missed by a couple of inches and now those two runs did it for them."

(on teams aggressiveness against their starting pitching) "Throwing strikes, people are going to be aggressive against you. We tried to throw the ball down into the zone. When Gerardo [Esquivel] comes in, if the ball comes below the knees, different story. He's aggressive down in the zone, the game changes a little bit.

(on their hitting) "Yesterday, that was a pretty good arm (Stanford's Mark Appel), it'd be interesting to see how he does in the big leagues that's a pretty good arm. Today [Illinois starter John Anderson] just threw strikes, mixed it up, got us chasing into the zone. From the 5th inning on, can't complain how we were hitting the bat. I thought we swung the bats good. We hit into a couple double plays however, and that's baseball right there."

(on their finishing kick at the end of their season and a reflection on 2011) "I commend the kids a lot, particularly the last three weeks, because we practically weren't in the Big 12 tournament. We had to win our last series against Kansas and we swept it. We beat Oklahoma twice in the Big 12 tournament to probably play our way into this tournament. Our backs have been against the wall the last three weeks. It's either win or go home. We continued to win games in pressure situations. Give the kids a lot of credit, because throughout the year, we've been inconsistent, we've had our ups and downs. We had a lot to deal with at the beginning of the year. Not a lot of programs had two new coaches come in January. We had to adjust to them. Another big senior had an injury who was a big part of our program. We went through a lot of adversity to other teams."

Kansas State RF Mike Kindel
(on his home run) "I thought it'd be off the fence as soon as I hit it. I guess the wind just took it. The balls been carrying out to center and rightfield like during BP and last night. I thought as soon as I hit, I thought it'd be a double, but I guess the wind just carried it out.

Kansas State 3B Jason King
(on their hitting) "[Illinois pitcher John Anderson] threw strikes, mixed it up. If you got a guy who's throwing a lot of strikes and thinks if you're going to beat me you're going to have to swing the bats, you're going to have a good chance. Obviously, he's a great competitor, and pitched them into the 9th inning, and there's not much to say, he's just a great competitor and did a great job."