Illinois Ends K-State's Season in Regional
June 4, 2011
FULLERTON, Calif. – Kansas State saw its baseball season end Saturday as 4th-seeded Illinois eliminated the Wildcats from the 2011 NCAA Fullerton Regional, 5-3, at Goodwin Field.
K-State finished its season with a 36-25 record, the third-most wins in school history, and earned its third-straight trip to a regional. The Fighting Illini, who advances to play the loser of Saturday’s late game between Cal State Fullerton and Stanford on Sunday, improved to 29-26.
“We had our backs against the wall for pretty much the last three weeks and competed really hard during that time,” head coach Brad Hill said about the season. “We went from not being in the Big 12 Tournament to making it to a regional. We won a lot of games in pressure situations, so I give the kids a lot of credit. Throughout the year, there were a lot of ups and downs. This team battled through a lot of adversity this season.”
Illinois starting pitcher John Anderson (8-6) was solid in eight-plus innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Other than a Mike Kindel home run in second inning, Anderson was able to work out of jams in the early innings. The Cats had two-out base runners in each of the first four innings, but couldn’t put any additional runs on the board.
The Illini answered Kindel’s homer with two runs in the third on a Josh Parr double and a Justin Parr sacrifice fly. The Illini pushed their lead to 5-1 with three runs in the fourth when Josh Parr followed a sacrifice fly with a two-run triple that landed just inside the left-field line and eluded a diving Kent Urban.
The Wildcats scored two unearned runs in the fifth to narrow the deficit to 5-3, but Anderson faced only the minimum number of batters over the next three frames to keep the Cats at bay.
“We got into a position early in the ballgame where we had to play catch-up,” Hill said. “I give Anderson credit – he made us earn it all the way through. From the fifth inning on, we had pretty good at-bats. I thought we swung the bats a lot better, but a lot of the balls found their gloves. That’s the name of the game. Right now in college baseball, if you’re going to throw strikes and make the other team earn it, you have a great chance of winning.”
The No. 8 and 9 hitters in the Illinois lineup – Davis Anderson and Josh Parr – each had two hits and combined to drive in four of the Illini five runs.
K-State starter Matt Applegate (5-5) was saddled with the loss, surrendering all five runs on seven hits in just 3.2 innings of work.
Wildcat relievers Gerardo Esquivel and Evan Marshall kept K-State in the contest. The pair combined for 5.1 shutout innings with seven strikeouts, including a season-high tying five by Marshall. Marshall ended the season with a 1.62 ERA, which ranks as the third-lowest in school history and the lowest since Bob Haney held a 1.34 ERA in 1970.